Bathroom safety is very important for seniors. Statistics from the CDC in 2008 show that over 234,000 non-fatal injuries occurred in the bathroom alone. The statistics consider people 15 or older, so it’s not just seniors that are falling and becoming injured in the bathroom.
Everyone is at risk of bathroom injuries.
If you’re a caregiver, you know that your responsibility is to keep your friend or loved one safe. You don’t want to make their illness or physical disability any worse than it already is for the individual.
Keep this statistic in mind when debating whether bathroom safety is important for a senior in your life: every 19 minutes, a senior dies in a fall.
Making your bathroom safer is easy:
1. Shower Chairs Are Great for Lower Body and Balance Issues
I slip in the shower all of the time. All it takes it excess shampoo or conditioner to make the floor of the shower slippery. Seniors can slip and fall in a second, causing a concussion, broken bones or contusions.
A shower chair will allow you to offer a safe, sturdy surface for a senior to sit on when showering.
There are transfer benches that extend outside of the tub that allow the person to sit down and slide themselves into the shower.
Another option is an actual shower chair that sits in the middle of the bathroom. My issue with these models is that the person must step into the shower, which also poses a risk of tripping and falling.
Grab bars inside the shower can also help.
2. Grab Bars Help Accommodate for Balance and Weakness
Grab bars are a great addition to any home or bathroom, and these bars are anchored into the wall. There are also suction cup models that will suction to the wall, but they do become loose and can add to the risk of falling.
Grab bars can be installed:
- Inside of the shower
- Near the toilet
You’ll want to install grab bars that allow the person to either pull up on the bar to stand up, as seen with bars installed near the toilet, or inside of the shower. When installed inside of the shower, place the bars near the shower chair or transfer bench for best results.
3. Raised Toilet Seats
Raised toilet seats may not seem that important when grab bars have been installed, but they’re vital to the safety of anyone with reduced mobility. First and most importantly, a raised toilet seat increases the mobility and freedom of the person.
There’s no need for the person to have to ask for help after going to the bathroom.
This, in itself, is enough of a reason to install a raised toilet seat in the bathroom. But the raised seat also eliminates falls from overexertion. A senior won’t get stuck on the toilet – yes, it happens – and there is a much lower risk of falling when standing from a toilet.
So, installing a raised toilet may be one of the better safety measures you choose to incorporate when redesigning your bathroom for a senior.