The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the home. One out of every five falls causes a serious injury that results in broken bones or a head injury (CDC). Some falls, if severe enough, can even be fatal. “Falls were the cause of 80 percent of all bathroom accidents, causing serious injuries like hip fractures. Older Americans had the highest fracture rates and were hospitalized most often.” (AARP)
Bathrooms can become increasingly difficult to navigate as we grow older due to their small size and many hard (and slick!) corners and surfaces. While most people cannot change the layout or size of their bathrooms, there are some steps that we all can take to reduce the risk of falling in the bathrooms that we do have.
Install Grab Bars
Installing grab bars in your bathroom is a simple task that will provide you confidence and stability, should you need it, as you get into and out of your shower. Grab bars can also be placed in the shower, by the toilet, or anywhere else that you see fit.
There are several types of grab bars out there. There are some that screw into the wall and others like this one that have a super suction mechanism that allows for a simple install without needing to drill any screws. You can see from a distance whether or not you have good suction on it with the red/green color indicator. It is not weight bearing but will help give you the confidence and support you need, when you need it most.
Shower Safety Tips
The shower can be a slippery place! We want you to be as safe as possible, so here are a few ideas of things you can do to make your shower safer.
- Use a shower chair or bench. This is a great idea for anyone who struggles with stability or is unable to stand for long periods of time. Having a shower bench will not only give you a place to rest while you shower, but it will also give you the extra stability that you need to shower safely and confidently.
- Consider putting a non-slip rubber bath mat down in your shower. As I mentioned above, showers are a slippery place, and this can help you move around with a reduced risk of falling due to the wet shower floor.
- Have all of your soaps and shampoos within close reach. Shower caddies are available that will keep everything at arm height and off the floor, thus reducing the risk of tripping over shampoo bottles. If you do decide to add a caddie to your shower, it should be mounted to the wall, if possible, because the suction cup caddies don’t always stay suctioned to the wall.
Toilet Safety Arm Support
Unsteady balance in seniors due to changes in blood pressure when moving from a sitting to standing position can be a cause for concern anytime, but especially when they are in the bathroom.
As you notice yourself becoming less stable as you grow older, you may decide that you would like a little extra support when you are lowering and lifting yourself up from the toilet. The Toilet Safety Arm Support could be for you. It will give you the confidence to sit down and will provide the extra support you want and need when you stand.
Other Bathroom Safety Tips
A few other tips to consider:
- Make sure that you keep a clear path free of debris. Keeping clothes, towels, and extra rugs out of your path can reduce the risk of a fall.
- Make sure that your bathroom is well lit at all times. Consider picking up a few nightlights that are light-sensored so that you will always have light when you enter your bathroom.
- If you choose to have a bath mat in your bathroom, be sure to use the correct type of mat. It should have a rubber non-slip bottom on it.
While we cannot always prevent falls from happening, we can take steps to avoid them as much as possible. ILA provides a variety of living aids that can be added to your bathroom to make it a safer place for you or your loved one to use.
ILA has a variety of bathroom safety aids to meet every need. Check out our inventory and find what might work best for you!
This blog was written by contributing author Sarah Bowman, a stay-at-home mom turned business owner of Sarah Bowman Assisting.