While no room in your home should lack protection from slips and falls (the leading cause of injury in the elderly), bathrooms understandably present a much greater risk for these types of accidents. Wet floors, tub bases, and shower stalls are akin to danger, which is why taking the proper preventative measure is essential for a safe living environment.
The market for bathroom safety products has grown immensely in the past decade, and this is perhaps in no small way a response to the startling statistics concerning senior in-home accidents. You can get everything you need to safety-proof your bathroom on the cheap, but of course no investment is too small when it comes to safeguarding the interests of your loved ones and yourself!
Support Bars – No geriatric bathroom safety plan would be complete without grab bars. Horizontally and vertically installed tub and shower bars are incredibly useful and provide elderly folks with a stable support system. Not only do they make getting in and out of the bathtub easier, older adults can rely on them to make a quick save in case they do slip or fall. Remember to never install these bars diagonally, as this increases the risk of slipping, especially when the bar is wet.
Adhesive mats – Most shower stalls and bathtubs feature vinyl surfaces, and although not as slippery as many other materials, the addition of water makes falling a possibility. You may have experienced a near-fall incident in the past, to which you likely responded by skirting around in an attempt to regain balance. Adhesive, rubber-backed mats remain fixed to the floor and offer adequate foot grip at all times, and that means no more slipping around when you are trying to bathe!
Shower chairs – Wheelchair-bound elderly adults and those who have a difficult time standing for long periods are best served by a shower chair. These devices feature ergonomic design for maximum comfort and rubber-soled feet to prevent sliding. Shower chairs are best used in conjunction with hand-held shower heads.
Raised toilet seats – Most standard toilets are fixed too low to the ground for elderly individuals, but the installation of a raised seat can increase seat height up to 4 inches. When equipped with side grab bars, your loved one will have no problem sitting down and standing up on their own.
Transfer bench – If your bathtub is not wheelchair-friendly or does not feature a door for easy entry, a bath bench is the next best thing. Simple and inexpensive, these seats extend outside of the tub for quick, fall-proof sessions. Rather than climb over the tub wall and risk slipping, instead, your loved one would just need to sit down and scoot inward.
The ideal bathroom for any senior will include all of these items, but just know that the addition of any one of them will make a huge difference as far as senior bathroom safety goes!
Which of these items do you have in your bathroom to make it safe for elderly loved ones? Tell us in the comments below.