Fall hazards exist in the home and account for the majority of home injuries. When seniors experience a fall in the home, the consequences can be dire. Falls, then, are more common when combined with declining physical mobility and decreasing eyesight, putting seniors at a higher risk for injury. Severe falls can often cause lasting injuries or disability, especially for senior citizens.
For these reasons, assessing a home's fall hazards is a vital step in ensuring the safety of senior citizens. Preventing falls will increase quality of life and allow seniors to enjoy their independence within their own homes for much longer.
The room with the greatest potential for falls is undeniably the bathroom. Water and tile floors will always prove to be a dangerous mix when it comes to slipping hazards. Whether a person is in or out of the shower, the chance for slips is highest in a wet bathroom. Let us examine some strait forward modifications that can be made in this room to mitigate slips, trips, and falls.
Inside The Shower
Showering and bathing can actually be risky behavior. With the frequency that people use their showers and the wet and slippery conditions, this daily activity can be a difficult process for seniors or those with mobility complications. Shower chairs and bath benches are the most effective solutions for making the shower a safer place.
Shower chairs came in many shapes and sizes from round shower stools to vinyl padded chairs or handicap seats with or without backs. Shower chairs come with suction feet that adhere the seat to the bathtub to prevent falls. Handicap versions can also allow wheelchair bound seniors easier access to their bathtubs without having to remodel the bathroom.
Bath benches are used to facilitate getting into the tub itself. A bath bench allows seniors to slide into the bath tub safely. These benches are halfway inside and outside of the shower. The two feet inside the tub are fixed with suction cups while the outside of the bench comes beyond the shower. Seniors can sit on the bench from the outside and move safely into the tub.
Outside Of The Tub
After a shower chair or bath bench, there are more safety items that can be installed in and around the bathroom. Non slip mats, adhesive safety strips, and non-slip decals can be liberally used all around the bathroom to prevent falls.
Grab bars also offer an easy installation near baths, sinks, and the toilet to improve mobility and stability. They also will support a person in the event of a fall. Many people try to instead catch themselves on towel racks when they lose their balance, but those will pull right out of a wall.
It is important to keep the bathroom safe to maintain freedom for seniors to live within their own homes. Simple changes like higher wattage light bulbs and night lights will go a long way to making the bathroom safer. Coupled with shower chairs and bath benches, seniors will enjoy their independence for many more years to come.
Author: Jeremy P Stanfords