Bathroom Safety Hacks For Older Adults

Old age is often accompanied by physical changes, including vision, balance, and mobility problems, that contribute to injury risk. In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one out of four people aged 65 years and older experience fall accidents every year. Falls can be costly and alarming resulting in head injuries, hip fracture, and even death.

Bathrooms are considered one of the most dangerous areas in the house normally, but even more so for seniors. While old age is a risk factor by itself, however, there are still simple bathroom modifications and hacks which you can do to increase safety and reduce the likelihood of falls and other injuries.

Who is at risk?

People with the following conditions have a higher risk of falling or injuring themselves while in the bathroom:

  • Balance or walking problems
  • Impaired vision
  • Poor lower extremity and grip strength
  • Foot pain or toe deformities
  • Taking certain medicines like sedatives
  • Vitamin D deficiency as it can lead to muscle weakness
  • Orthostatic hypotension (happens when your blood pressure suddenly drops after getting up, which can cause dizziness)
  • Seniors with a history of falling are also more likely to fall again
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Alzheimer’s Disease

However, keep in mind that even healthy adults are prone to falls mostly because of environmental hazards in the bathroom such as:

  • Uneven, slippery floors
  • Rugs, clutters, or small items which you can trip over
  • Poor lighting
  • Lack of grip bars and non-skid surfaces

Safety Hacks To Keep The Bathroom Safer

Here are some bathroom-related safety measures you can take to make your bathroom safer.

  • Add grab bars along the wall, beside the toilet, around the bathtub, and inside the shower. If you find mounting them onto the tiles a bit tedious, there’s a suction type that will take you less than five minutes to install.

  • Falling isn’t the only injury you should worry about. If the water temperature is way too hot in the sink or faucet, it might lead to burn injuries. Make sure that the hot and cold sides of the bathroom faucets are properly labeled to avoid confusion.

  • Use a claw reacher or long grabber when trying to get things at the top of the bathroom shelf. You can also use a sturdy stool. If there’s someone younger and fitter in your house, ask them to grab the items instead. Trying to reach them yourself might be dangerous.

  • Older adults with serious mobility issues or balance problems can use a stool or a shower chair. Just make sure there are rubber tips on the legs to prevent them from sliding. Another option is to install a permanent shower bench attached to the wall. This way, taking a bath will become less stressful and more enjoyable. Using these tools can also reduce your risk of fall-related injuries.

  • Consider a curbless shower if you want to use a wheelchair or a walker in the bathroom. This is becoming a trend nowadays even for those without seniors in the house because of its accessibility. There’s no lip at the floor which makes it easy for anyone with limited mobility to enter.

  • Using automatic lighting will prevent you from searching for the light switch in the dark. These are equipped with motion detectors so they will automatically switch on when you enter the bathroom and turn off after you leave.

  • A non-skid mat is a whole lot better than traditional rugs because it keeps the bathroom floor dry. It is also fully rubberized so it will stay secured to the floor and won’t easily flip along the edges. Walking over it with a walker or a wheelchair is also easy.

  • A raised toilet seat will increase the height by about four inches. Older adults who are having trouble sitting down will benefit from this. In addition, most newer models include grip bars so you can lift yourself up with little problem.

  • Use mounted dispensers for various bathroom products like shampoo, conditioner, or shower gels. These often have suction cups which make them easy to install. Unlike using a shower caddy with bottles, these dispensers cannot slip from the hands.

Most of these hacks are cheap and easy to do. Even the more expensive ones are worth it because they can help keep you safe. Besides, peace of mind is priceless which will then make bathing and taking a shower a more pleasurable and relaxing experience.
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