Bathrooms May Be the Most Dangerous for Seniors

undefinedFor many seniors, living independently in their own homes is a top priority. Many older adults can do this as long as they are physically and mentally able to care for themselves. Sometimes, they’ll need help and guidance from friends and relatives, or from caregivers who can provide additional support and help.

The key to maintaining independent lifestyles depends on many factors, including safety. One of the most common dangers seniors face is falling. One out of three seniors over the age of 65 falls each year. In fact, research shows that injuries and subsequent complications due to falls are the leading causes of death with this group. While not every tumble guarantees an injury, these statistics should prompt seniors and their loved ones to make every effort to prevent falls.

The first place to evaluate is the bathroom. While this is the smallest room in the house, bathrooms can offer the most opportunities for falls. Bathtub edges may be hard to step over for some seniors. Once in the shower or tub, wet surfaces can cause slips. Some seniors may not be able to stand steadily while bathing. Others may have trouble sitting down on toilets or standing up again after using them. Wet floors after showers or baths and even bath mats can cause people to slip and fall. Comfort Keepers offers these ideas and solutions for safety in the bathroom:

Bathtubs and Showers

  • Install grab bars in proper places to aid in safe entry and exit of tubs and showers.
  • Consider replacing a bathtub with a walk-in shower for seniors who have trouble stepping over high bathtub sides.
  • Non-skid mats or decal applications should be applied on the floors of showers and tubs to help prevent slipping while bathing.
  • Seniors who have trouble standing to bathe should use sturdy shower chairs made specifically for this purpose.
  • Make sure soap, shampoos, towels and other bathing necessities are within easy reach.

Toilets and Floors

  • Seniors who have trouble sitting and standing up can have raised toilet seats installed to make this process easier.
  • Grab bars should be installed for additional support.
  • Make sure the toilet paper dispenser is easily accessible.
  • Use a bathmat for the bathroom floor just outside the shower or tub to prevent slipping on slick floors after bathing.
  • Place a non-skid material between the bathroom floor to prevent the mat from sliding or creasing.

While none of these safety features guarantees a no-fall zone, they certainly add layers of protection and aid for seniors at risk for falling. The discussion may be a bit hard to broach but it can foster safe, independent living for seniors in their own homes for as long as possible.

 

Stephen Bright Certified Senior Advisor and Comfort Keepers® Franchise Owner Shawnee Mission, KS & Kansas City, MO

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Copyright © 2015 Crossroads Hospice. All rights reserved.

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