Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors – Prevent Falls and Injuries
We all get older; there is nothing we can do to stop it. It is rough watching your loved one age, always worrying about them 6 out of 10 falls occur at home.
Statistics show that slipping and falling is one of the number one causes of injuries in the elderly. One of the most familiar places to suffer a serious fall is in the bathroom.
As we age bones become thinner, so even a mild fall can be catastrophic. If your older adult is in between the stages of full independence and full care, there are some precautions that you can take.
On average, people go to the bathroom seven times a day. For older people that can be even more frequent. With balancing and coordination being common issues as we age, it is important to remove any clutter or obstacles that may be in the path to the standard toilet. Which leads me to my next point.
Constant Source of Lighting
Having a clear, well-lit route to the toilet is imperative to the safety of your older loved one. The elderly are more likely to have to use the facilities in the middle of the night. To avoid an accident use night lights or keep a hallway light on during nighttime.
Install Hand Bars
Many falls happen while getting in/out of the shower or bathtub. Installing toilet safety rail or grab bars in the shower will help with balancing problems along with giving extra stability.
Consider a Transfer Bench
A transfer bench slides over the bathtub ledge to assist in getting in and out of the bathtub. Older people tend to have a more difficult time raising their legs over the wall of the tub. This eliminates any risk of falling while entering or exiting.
Hand-Held Shower Head
To make showering less stressful, a hand-held shower head can make bathing much more comfortable. Attempting to maneuver under a mounted shower head, can be risky for someone who may have balancing problems. Using in conjunction with a transfer bench, this greatly reduces the chance of accidents and injuries.
Placing a seat inside the shower, adds an extra layer of stability, while still providing the option for independence. If your loved one gets dizzy, they are able to sit and catch their bearings.
Non-Slip Surface Mats
Considering the majority of bathroom flooring is tiles or other possibly slick-when-wet material, and regular bath mats are prone to slipping, a non-slip bath mat is important. They make non-slip bathroom floor mats specially for the elderly.
Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
To help assist in using the actual toilet, a modified bidet toilet seat with support arms may be the right choice, as standing and sitting can cause lowered blood pressure in the elderly which can cause lightheadedness. With prohibited movement, some may find toilet tissue wiping aids useful.
While these safeguards will undoubtedly help to prevent an incident, nothing is fall-proof (see what I did, there?). When you have an elderly relative living alone, particularly if they have medical conditions, such as Alzheimer’s or Vertigo, check on them regularly. They may not be able to realistically gauge what they are actually capable of doing without putting themselves at risk.
We have all seen those commercials “I’ve fallen, and I can’t get up!”, but a medical alert bracelet or necklace could be a safety net or even save a life. They can be there when you cannot. Getting old is not easy, leaving our loved ones with just a modicum of dignity and independence is the least we can do.
Infographic Credit: https://avacaremedical.com/blog/bathroom-safety-tips-elderly-infographic.html