The right safety products can help keep you and your loved ones a bit safer. The most dangerous room in the home for falls for people of all ages is also typically the smallest: the bathroom.
According to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Every year about 235,000 people over age 15 visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom, and almost 14 percent are hospitalized. More than a third of the injuries happen while bathing or showering, and over 14 percent occur while using the toilet.” The research went on to say that, injuries increase with age, peaking after 85, and the most hazardous activities for all ages are bathing, showering and getting out of the tub or shower. Injuries in or near the bathtub or shower account for more than two-thirds of emergency room visits, and are four times more likely to occur getting out of the tub or shower than into it. The study also found a high incidence of injuries getting on and off the toilet for people 65 and older.
That’s the bad news. The good news is that bathroom related falls are easily preventable and we are here to help.
Tips for Shower Safety
The shower can be a dangerous place for everyone, but especially the elderly or individuals with a disability. Many suffer from balance issues, and adding slippery floors, can make the situation worse. There are a few things you can do to make entering, standing in, or exiting the shower safer. We’d like to introduce you to the Shower Safety Trio: Grab Bars, Bath Seats and Non-Slip Mats! Just one of these items can help to prevent shower slips and falls and all three can help to give you, or your loved one, back some independence.
Shower Safety Bars, are also known as Shower “Grab Bars”. These bars provide something to grip and hold onto while standing in the shower or stepping in and out of the shower. Having something steady to help balance yourself can prevent falls while showering.
If you or a loved one have balance issues or find it difficult to stand for prolonged periods of time, you may find a shower bench beneficial. Shower Benches allow you to sit while showering, which allows time for you to get clean without the possibility of becoming weak or falling due to standing for the duration of the shower.
Mats can make both inside the shower, and the tile or flooring outside of the shower less slippery. Some mats are designed for use in the shower, these types of mats stick to the bottom of the shower or tub, helping to create a non-slip surface that has some friction and grip to it. Shower mats that are designed to be used outside of the shower, absorb the water that drips off while exiting shower while wet, this helps prevent slipping as it does not allow for the water to fall and collect on the floor, creating a slick surface. Both types of shower mats are inexpensive and can help prevent slips and falls.
The shower isn’t the only dangerous part of the bathroom, using the toilet can also be risky for some individuals. Here are some of our tips on toilet safety.
- Always use the toilet sitting down and don’t get up suddenly when finished. This isn’t a race, no one is timing you. Take your time.
- Raising the toilet seat height can help prevent falls. You can do this by adding an elevated toilet seat. Many individuals with mobility issues have a hard time squatting down to reach a conventional toilet, which can be embarrassing. Installing an elevated toilet seat can help to prevent falls and embarrassment.
- Use a commode chair instead of a toilet. A commode chair can provide you with the independence to use the toilet without assistance.
- Individuals with mobility issues can sometimes struggle with cleaning up after using the toilet. Consider a special seat called a portable bidet. It helps you clean your bottom without using your hands. It sprays warm water to clean, then warm air to dry, all at the click of a button.
With careful safety planning, you’re much less likely to need assistance, but if you ever do, you’ll be able to call someone and they’ll be able to get in and help more quickly.