Daily care frequently happens in the bathroom, whether it’s bathing, brushing, or flossing. However, this area can become hazardous for seniors as they age. You can make your bathroom more senior-safe with the right supports and amenities, or consider moving into a specially designed suite to accommodate your loved one’s increasing safety needs.
Continue reading to learn more about the importance of bathroom safety and how you can avoid injuries in your bathroom.
Slips & Falls: A Common Bathroom Hazard
You may brush off a fall or stumble when you’re younger, but older adults risk serious injury when they lose their footing.
The bathroom contains several hazards, and cleaning up clutter, adding handrails and seats, and reorganizing can help make this space safer.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3 million older adults go to the emergency room each year for fall injuries. 20% of falls cause serious injuries, such as broken bones or head trauma.
These falls and slips can happen for several reasons, including:
- Lower body weakness
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Trouble with walking & balance
- Medication use
- Vision problems
- Foot pain
- Poor footwear
- Home hazards like rugs or uneven stairs
There is always a risk of falls for seniors, even in unexpected places, and one prominent place is the bathroom.
You spend quite a bit of time in the bathroom. You use it to shower, bathe, brush your teeth, get ready for the day, and do other activities. Most bathrooms have slippery tiles, few sitting opportunities, and the potential for spilled water from the shower, bathtub, toilet, or sink.
The CDC recommends making your home safer to prevent unnecessary falls.
Tips to Avoid Bathroom Injuries for Seniors
There are several ways you can help improve the safety of your bathroom and prevent unnecessary injury, like cleaning up the space and making it more accessible and safe.
Reduce Clutter & Simplify the Bathroom
People use many toiletries, including toothbrushes, floss, toothpaste, combs, brushes, lotions, gels, and more. Items, bottles, and tubes can fall on the ground, even when organized in cupboards or drawers. Many older adults have mobility difficulties, and reaching down to grab a shampoo bottle could be a potential hazard.
Simplifying the bathroom experience can help prevent potential injuries. Remove rarely or never-used objects and toiletries, focusing on the daily essentials.
Use a Shower Bench
Showering is something many people take for granted when they’re younger and more mobile. It’s harder to stay balanced in the shower with age—making falls more likely. Investing in a shower bench can reduce the risk of injury for you or your loved one.
A shower bench can make entering and exiting the shower easier while offering a place to sit if balance is an issue. Research and choose a quality shower bench to support you or your loved one.
Safety rails can go on or around your toilet, increasing support when you use the restroom. These rails can attach to the wall or the toilet or be free-standing to help with balance and mobility to reduce your worry of falls.
Another bathroom change you can make is raising the height of the toilet. Raising its height can make sitting down easier for you or your loved one.
Invest in a Walk-In Tub
Walk-in tubs are safer as you age because you don’t need to raise your legs to get in, potentially putting you off balance or slipping as you enter. These tubs feature doors, making it easy to enter and exit the tub.
Investing in a walk-in tub can make relaxing with a bath a safer experience.
Avoid Slippery Surfaces
Bathrooms can become slippery from the shower, sink, or tub. You can help prevent potential falls by buying a non-slip mat.
Non-slip mats help absorb water and won’t potentially slide out from under your feet. You can place these mats by the toilet, shower, bathtub, or entrance to the bathroom.
Keep Essential Items Nearby
Whether in the shower or on the counter, essential items should be easily accessible and nearby. You or your loved one shouldn’t have to stretch or move into awkward positions to grab something. In the shower, installing a shower caddy can help keep shampoo, conditioner, and body wash all within reach.
Keep essential items (lotions, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss) in a single organizer on the counter to make everything easy to access as needed.
Use Visual Indicators
Visual indicators can avoid potential hazards in the bathroom. Consider marking the hot and cold taps on the sink to lower the risk of accidental burns. Using signs or labels to identify where items are in the bathroom can help make them easier to find.
Consider Senior Living If Your Bathroom Is Unsafe
A safe bathroom is important for seniors as they age, but renovations can be expensive. If you’re worried about bathroom safety, consider senior living. These communities have specially designed features and 24/7 support staff for older adults, helping them live safely.
Contact us at Chestnut Ridge Wallingford if you’re interested in this lifestyle for yourself or a loved one.