Bathroom Safety Tips

Bathroom Safety Tips to Help Your Aging Loved Ones Avoid Falls and Injuries

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Introduction

Seniors are prone to injuries that result from falls, which can lead to long-term disabilities. It happens due to seniors’ limited mobility and dexterity combined with poor vision, lack of strength, and unsteady balance. The bathroom is one location where the potential for injuries is higher. Standing up from, sitting down on, slipping in the shower or bathtub, or using the toilet are some causes of injuries in the bathroom. Hence, seniors must be vigilant about safety in the bathroom. So, as someone who looks after the welfare of your senior loved one. You need to have information on bathroom safety tips to help your aging loved ones avoid falls and injuries. With that in mind, here are the areas where bathroom safety can increase your ability to care for your aging loved one.

7 Bathroom Safety Tips to Help Your Aging Loved Ones Avoid Falls and Injuries

1. Install Grab Bars

Bathroom safety starts with installing grab bars to assist seniors in getting out of the shower and tub. If your senior loved one cannot step over a side, he needs a grab bar for support. Grab bars should be sturdy enough to hold the weight of your loved one. You should install the grab bar on both sides of the tub or basin walls at a height that suits your loved one’s convenience.

2. Improve Accessibility

Ensure that all commonly used items your loved one needs are within easy reach for places like the bathrooms where the risk of falling and slipping is higher. Ensure that shampoo, soap, conditioner, towels, and any other bathing items are within reach. Also, ensure that drawers and cabinets that contain toiletries and other necessary items are within reach.

3. Install Non-Slip Surfaces

There should be non-slip surfaces in and around your loved one’s bath and shower. Tile floors should be installed in the bathrooms, while you should avoid wood or laminated floors. The slippery floor could result in a fall or injury, especially if your loved one moves around the bathroom to get wet hair combed, get wet clothes clean or put on dry clothes after using the bathroom. Also, don’t place towels over tiled floors as they can cause slips.

4. Lessen Risks of Overexertion

Overexertion is another common cause of falls and injuries in the bathroom. Determine how high your loved one stands to get into the shower or bath. When using the shower or bath, make sure your loved one does not need to lean too far back while standing. Also, when your loved one uses the toilet seat, there should be a small lip around the seat to hold onto while he stands up from sitting down. If your loved one wants to sit down on the toilet seat, there should be a lip that allows your loved one to do so safely. 

5. Remove Any Obstacles

If you have difficulty getting in and out of the shower or bathtub, remove any obstacle that may cause injuries. It includes low bathroom rugs, handicap grab bars or chairs, drains too low for your loved one to reach, and faucets mounted too low for safety.

6. Improve Visibility

Even with excellent lighting, it is still possible for your loved one to trip and fall. That is why you need to make sure the bathroom is fully illuminated with enough natural light during the daytime. Also, consider installing a nightlight on the bathroom door, along the bathroom pathway, and on all surrounding surfaces requiring illumination. For poor areas, you may also want to consider installing a motion sensor light to ensure safety.

7. Prevent Hot Water Burns

Never leave your aging loved one unattended in the bath or shower, especially when using hot water that could cause burns if your loved one’s skin accidentally touches it. Make sure that your loved one’s skin is not exposed to hot water. To avoid any risks, ensure your aging parent’s bathroom taps are labeled and keep hot water temperatures to 120 F. By doing this, you can minimize burn risk.

Also Read: How Can Technology Help Older Adults in Place at Home?

Failing to prepare is always a good way to fail. In this case, failing to prepare for the bathroom could result in your aging loved one falling and hurting themselves. And there are long-term consequences of falls among seniors that would affect their quality of life.

3 Long-Term Consequences of Falls Among Seniors

  • Reduced Independence – Falls can result in uncertainty in the mind of older adults. Seniors may feel self-conscious, uncertain, and blameworthy as a result of a fall. It can make seniors hesitate to move around freely as they fear further injury. In this way, seniors may overlook the fact that it is the loss of mobility that impairs their quality of life and not their intelligence or capabilities.
  • Multiple Falls – Frequent falls can also cause seniors to lose confidence in their abilities. Over some time, seniors might feel that they are a burden on their loved ones and family. Moreover, the resulting fear from the fall and any prior falls may make it more difficult for seniors to walk up or downstairs, which often leads to confinement. 
  • Further Family Impact – Falling and injuries don’t always affect older adults. It can also affect the older adult’s family. Family members may have to rush away from their offices and workplaces following a phone alerting their loved ones has faced accidents. A repeated phone call may affect the family member’s work and may lead to quitting work.

Ensuring that bathing areas are kept safe and safe surfaces used during bathing can make a difference in lowering your loved one’s risk of injuries and falls. With proper care and attention towards possible safety hazards, you and your loved one can continue to be active and comfortable in your favorite locations.

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