How safe is your bathroom? More than one in three persons over 65 fall each year. Falls in the bathroom can be severe as there are many unforgiving and unsafe surfaces. In fact, according to a 2011 study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 200,000 Americans are treated in emergency departments for bathroom-related injuries each year! However, there are some steps you can take to increase bathroom safety.
Most bathroom accidents involve the shower, tub, and toilet areas. There are safety measures to consider in each area.
Showers and tubs:
Grab Bars: Many use towel bars or shower/tub features to hold onto while climbing in and out of the shower/tub. Towel bars are good for holding towels but aren’t built to support weight. Instead, install grab bars in easy-to-reach places to help support balance when entering and exiting the shower or tub.
Grab bars are best suited for those with good upper-body strength who are able to hold onto grab bars while moving or standing. All grab bars should be securely fixed to the studs of the wall for adequate support.
Where’s the best place to install grab bars? See where normally one might hold onto when entering or exiting the shower and place the grab bars there.
Shower Chair: A shower chair can provide stability for those with difficulty balancing and a rest place for those who have difficulty standing for long periods of time. A good shower chair has rubber tips on the legs to prevent sliding. When used with a hand-held shower head, one can remain seated while bathing.
Transfer Bench: A bath transfer bench eliminates the problem of stepping in/out of the tub. One gets in safely by sitting down on the bench outside the tub, then sliding over safely into the tub. The transfer bench is often used with a hand-held shower, allowing one to remain seated while bathing.
Raised Toilet Seat: Some may have difficulty lowering themselves down to sit on a low toilet seat and rising to a standing position safely (due to lack of arm and leg strength and balance). A raised toilet seat (raises toilet seat height by 3-4 inches) reduces the amount of squatting and the distance that has to be covered to sit on the toilet. Grab bars on the raised seat itself provide added safety.
Bathroom safety can greatly increase if these simple measures are taken.
GO Medical can deliver many of these products right to your door. Please see our selection of Bathroom Safety Products Of course, if there happens to be a fall, GO Medical provides Wound Care Products as well.