Did you know that more than one in three elderly persons fall each year – often at home? What happens if a senior or elderly person falls in the bathroom while showering! A 2011 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that over 200,000 seniors in the United States are treated in emergency departments each year due to bathroom-related injuries. Bathrooms are extremely hazardous due to their slippery nature.
Bathrooms have slippery surfaces and very few dependable things to grasp onto if one suddenly falls. This situation greatly increases the chances of injury from bathroom-related accidents. That’s where shower safety for seniors and the elderly come in handy. Improving bathroom safety while in the shower is paramount to the health and well-being of your loved parent or senior.
This article provides tips on how to create the best showers for seniors that improve the safety of your parent or elderly loved one.
Is Your Parent Or Loved One Susceptible?
Over 80% of falls in a home are in the bathroom. Even though anyone can slip and fall in a bathroom, an elderly person with poor muscle strength and balance issues is far more susceptible to slipping and falling in the bathroom.
Most falls in the bathroom occurs while your parent is getting in and out of the tub or shower, sitting down or getting up from the toilet, and walking in the bathroom without any object to grab in order to support the balance of the individual.
There are also many other factors that can increase the risk of your loved one slipping and falling in the bathroom such as:
- Slippery shower floor surfaces
- Non-slip-resistant shower chairs
- Slippery rugs in the bathroom
- Insufficiently secured towel racks
- Bathtubs that are difficult to step in and out
- Slippery floor tiles in the bathroom
There are many things that you can do to reduce the risk of your loved one slipping and falling in the bathroom. Here are some tips to consider when renovating your bathroom for elder safety:
A shower chair is a great option to improve elder safety in the bathroom. It provides stability for elders who have difficulty in balancing. The chair is great for elders who find it difficult to stand for long periods while showering. A quality shower chair should have rubber tips on the legs to prevent it from sliding while the senior sits on it. The chair is ideal for your loved one to remain seated while showering when coupled with a handheld shower head.
Most seniors would hold onto the towel bar to get in and out of the bathtub or shower. But towel bars aren’t great for supporting the weight of your loved one. Towel bars are made to hold the weight of towels and not the weight of a person. Instead, you should install grab bars in easy to reach places in the bathroom – especially around the bathtub or shower. Grab bars are great to support the balance of your senior when getting in and out of the tub or shower.
Non-Slip Bath Mats And Rugs
This is one of the most effective ways of preventing unnecessary falls in the bathroom. A non-slip mat near the shower will prevent your loved one from falling while showering. Likewise, a non-slip rug on the floor – outside the shower area – will prevent your loved one from slipping while he or she is out of the shower. Non-slip tape is another great low-cost option for tub bottoms and shower pans.
Raise The Height Of The Toilet
Raising the height of the toilet by at least three inches is another great option to make the bathroom safe for seniors. Most seniors find it difficult to get up once they sit because of the low height of the toilet. There are many ways of raising the height of your existing toilet such as replacing the old one with a taller “comfort height” toilet or simply raising the height with a thick toilet seat.
Round faucets are difficult for elders because of the twisting and turning involved in opening and closing. A lever faucet is an ideal option to get rid of this twisting and turning. You can choose from a wide variety of styles available on the market including foot-operated faucets when opting for lever faucets. You can even use DIY methods to install a lever faucet in your bathroom.
Remove The Shower Clutter
Having to sort through several bottles and items while showering isn’t an ideal situation for your loved one. An elder person can slip and fall while trying to sort through all these items in the bathroom. Don’t leave multiple shampoo bottles, conditioners, soaps, and sponges in your bathroom. Make sure you remove all the shower clutter to make your bathroom elder-safe. Keep only what the senior person needs in the shower and place them in a place that is easily reachable.
Barrier-Free Walk-In Showers
This is important if your loved one or elderly parent is using a walker, a wheelchair or has trouble lifting his/her legs. For such a person, getting over a seemingly small hump could be daunting at times. That’s where barrier-free shower stalls come in handy. You may even remodel the shower area as a walk-in shower. A handyman can easily handle this type of work in your bathroom.
Pull out drawers are a better option in the bathroom than a cupboard. Your parent can quickly grab a towel or washcloth from a pull out drawer. You should make sure that there is an easily accessible place to store everyday items for your loved one.
Bathrooms have slippery surfaces and a few dependable things to grab onto in case your loved one suddenly slips and falls. Injuries from bathroom-related accidents are soaring across the United States. That’s why you need to make your bathroom senior-safe to prevent slip and fall accidents. I hope your find this information on how to improve the safety of your parent or senior while in the shower helpful!