With the risk of slipping, tripping and falling, the bathroom can be one of the most hazardous rooms in a home, especially for the elderly.
Designing a safe bathroom for the elderly not only promotes their independence and comfort but also protects them from potential injuries.
In this article, we will explore the common causes of bathroom falls and share essential bathroom safety tips, particularly bathroom safety tips for seniors, to create a safer environment for your loved one.
Common causes of slips and falls in the bathroom
1. Getting in or out of the shower or bathtub
One of the most precarious activities for seniors in the bathroom is entering and exiting the shower or bathtub, mainly because of its slippery surfaces, which can lead to loss of balance.
2. Wet and slippery floors
The presence of water makes bathroom floors inherently slippery. When the water on tile or linoleum doesn’t drain properly or is left to puddle, it increases the risk of a slip and fall accident.
3. Broken tiles
Damaged or broken tiles not only present a tripping hazard but can also have sharp edges that might cause serious injuries if a fall does occur.
4. Poor lighting
Good lighting is vital for safety in the bathroom. Shadows or poor visibility can prevent you or your loved oens from noticing wet spots, obstacles or changes in the flooring.
5. Bending for hard-to-reach areas
Retrieving items from low cabinets or picking up dropped objects can cause seniors to lose their balance due to bending or reaching awkwardly.
6. Standing up or sitting down on a toilet
This everyday activity can become challenging with age. Weakness in the legs or problems with balance can turn this simple task into a risky one, as it increases the risk of falling.
7. Tripping over bathmats, towels or other objects
Loose bathmats, towels or other items on the floor can quickly become tripping hazards for the elderly, who may have reduced reflexes or mobility.
Tips to improve bathroom safety for seniors and elderly
1. Keep necessities accessible.
To reduce the need to reach or bend, which can compromise safety in the bathroom, keep all bathroom necessities at waist level. Use shower caddi es, wall-mounted dispensers, and shelving units to store soaps, shampoos, and other essentials.
2. Install grab bars.
One of the most effective bathroom safety tips for seniors is the installation of grab bars. These should be placed in areas where you or your loved one may need extra support for safe movement, including:
- Near the toilet
- In the shower
- Along the walls
3. Install non-slip surfaces.
Non-slip surfaces can drastically reduce the risk of slipping. Some examples of these tools include:
- Non-slip mats for nside and outside of the tub or shower
- Non-slip decals
- Textured surface on the floor of the shower
4. Remove obstacles and clutter.
The path towards and within the bathroom must always be clear. Remove any unnecessary things that could become obstacles, such as:
- Decorative items
5. Upgrade lighting.
A well-lit bathroom is a safer bathroom. Consider brighter bulbs and add nightlights that come on automatically in low light conditions to allow seniors to see clearly at all times of the day and night.
6. Reduce the risk of over-exertion.
To prevent falls due to over-exertion, consider the installation of a raised toilet seat or a toilet with grab bars. This will make it easier to stand up and sit down without exerting too much effort.
7. Prevent hot water burns.
Install anti-scalding devices on faucets and showers to prevent hot water burns. Water temperature should be set to a maximum of 120° F (48.88° C) for bathroom safety.
Making the bathroom safe for your elderly loved ones is about reducing risks and making the space more comfortable and functional. By living in a home with a safe bathroom, your senior loved one can maintain their independence and avoid preventable injuries.