Tips On How To Prevent Falls In The Bathroom

Certified Senior Advisor®
how to prevent falls in the bathroom

Because it can be such a treacherous place, it's important to know how to prevent falls in the bathroom. The key is minimizing exposure to water and wet surfaces, adding places to hold onto, and making bathing and toileting safer. Here are 9 specific recommendations.

how to prevent falls in the bathroom
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Income Disclosure: Product recommendations are based on my personal experience working with seniors. I may earn a commission on items purchased from affiliate links in this guide. Learn More.

Everyone who has spent time in a bathroom knows how slippery they can be. Whether you’re stepping out of the shower or getting into the tub, taking a spill isn’t out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, even minor falls can have devastating consequences for those who are over 65 years old.

Falling as you get older gets increasingly dangerous. After all, your bones get more brittle, which can cause even minor falls to result in serious injuries. So much so that over 800,000 patients are hospitalized annually due to a fall injury.

When you suffer a fall, it only increases your chances of falling again. The bathroom presents hazardous conditions that can make it difficult to safeguard from accidental falls.

However, there are things you can do to help prevent falls in the bathroom. This article will detail some of the top things you can do.

9 Tips To Effectively Prevent Falls In The Bathroom

1. Deal With The Slippery Surfaces

First and foremost, you want to deal with slippery surfaces that can become dangerous in the bathroom. If you have tile floors, you want to place down non-slip floor mats. Having non-slip bath mats can reduce your risk of suffering an accidental fall while walking in the bathroom.

These mats typically have suction cups underneath, which keep them in place. This way, when you step on the mat, the carpet or mat doesn’t move, which could cause you to lose your balance.

2. Make Your Tub Less Slippery

Along with adding non-slip mats to your bathroom floor, you should add a non-slip shower mat. These mats work in the same way. Without a non-slip shower mat, you will find it very difficult to prevent falls from accidental slippage.

The simple task of getting in and out of the shower can make it very difficult to prevent accidental falls. This is typically one of the things that get people into trouble because it can be difficult for an elderly person to keep their balance while on a single leg.

Adding a non-slip bath mat to the tub can help boost friction and keep you upright.

shower chair sitting next to tub in the bathroom
Shower chairs add to bathroom safety by allowing you to sit while showering.

3. Add a Shower Chair

A shower chair is one investment every single elderly person should be making. A shower chair can be a fantastic addition if you want to prevent falls in the bathroom because it limits the time you have to spend standing upright and balancing.

A shower chair is meant to address those with an inability to balance. It can be installed in a variety of different types of showers and there are a lot of styles to choose one. This can dramatically increase your chances of preventing a spill in the bathroom.

RELATED: Best Shower Chairs for Seniors

4. Install Grab Bars

Another effective way to prevent falls in the bathroom would be installing grab bars. These bars are meant to make it much easier to move around in and around the shower.

Grab bars will allow you to hold onto something while you move around on an otherwise slippery surface. Grab bars can be lifesavers for anyone with balance issues because they will supply you with more leverage to keep you upright.

These bars should be installed and positioned so the bars can assist with getting in and out of the shower or tub. They should also have texture or rubbery grips. That way, the grab bar can be quickly grabbed without the risk of slippage.

5. Keep Your Medicine Cabinet in a Good Place

One problem some people encounter when they are in their bathroom is not having things in easy-to-reach locations. Your medicine cabinet or where you keep all of your daily essentials should be very easy to get to. You shouldn’t have to squat or bend down at the waist to get anything. Nor should you have to reach up on your tippy-toes.

Instead, you want to keep everything at arm’s length and near chest level. That way, you can grab anything and everything you need without losing your balance in the process.

The height of the toilet is an important bathroom safety consideration. Adding elevated toilet seats or a new taller toilet can make toileting safer for seniors.

6. Make Your Toilet More Accessible

Another big issue many people have with their bathroom is having a toilet that is hard to access. Even the simple task of bending down on a regular toilet can get difficult when you get older.

Because of this, you want to do things to make the toilet easier to access and use. For one, the toilet should be positioned higher. Older people will have much greater difficulty squatting down on a standard-sized toilet. Also, they will have even greater difficulty getting up, which requires ample lower body strength.

Instead, you should raise the toilet to take the stress off the lower back when sitting down and the legs when getting up. To make it even more accessible, grab bars can be installed around the toilet so the elderly person can use the bars as leverage when sitting down and getting up.

Here are some great options for making your toilet more accessible and safer to use:

7. Getting a Handheld Showerhead

One of the best investments for the shower for someone who is elderly would be a handheld showerhead. These showerheads are versatile. They can be used as a standard showerhead, and they can be removed and used as a handheld alternative.

For any senior, this can be a real lifesaver because you can use this type of showerhead while seated. That way, if you have a shower seat, you can thoroughly wash without having to get up and balance yourself throughout your shower. This can minimize the chances of slipping, falling, or losing your balance.

If you are getting a handheld shower head for a senior, the showerhead should be positioned lower to make it easier to access when they need it.

8. Light Up The Room

One thing that could cause a spill would be inadequate lighting. This is an easily preventable problem. After all, you can install better lights which can eliminate the problem.

You may even want to install lighting around the floor to illuminate the floor itself. This can be kept on at all times to keep the floor visible even during the night without disturbing your sleep.

RELATED: Best Nightlights for Seniors

9. Keep It Clutter-Free

Another important thing that you should be doing to minimize the risk of falls in the bathroom would be to keep things organized.

Do your best to keep the bathroom as clutter-free as possible. The more stuff in your bathroom, the more likely something ends up on the floor where it can be tripped over.

By reducing the amount of stuff and obstacles in the bathroom, you can reduce the chances of tripping over something.

Summary and Final Recommendations: How to Prevent Falls in the Bathroom

As someone older, you need to be aware of the consequences of a fall. While you shouldn’t let it deter you from moving around freely and being active, you should be aware of some things that you should be doing to prevent it.

Whether you are looking for tips for yourself or you are a caregiver looking to enhance the safety of your client, there are various things that you can do to minimize falls in the bathroom.

By using the tips above, you will be able to make it much easier and safer to walk around in the bathroom for someone with limited mobility or balance. Falling in the bathroom can be devastating to an elderly person, and a lot of the falls can be easily prevented with the right preparations in place.

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Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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