Everything you need to know about bathroom safety products for older people
According to a study conducted in 2011, 234,094 unintentional and non-fatal bathroom injuries were caused as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The result also showed that these bathroom injuries were more common in senior citizen individuals.
Some of the most common bathroom injuries caused to the older people happened while showering, bathing, and also when they get in and out of the bathtub. More than 80% of the injuries happened due to falls.
If you want older people to use any kinds of restrooms or bathrooms safely, you must ensure to make the bathroom a harmless place for them by installing safe products. This blog will share some essential tips which will help you upgrade your bathroom, which can be used by senior people without any hassle.
Just some environment modifications and you will be able to offer your elderly people who you care for so much a place where they will feel safe and secure, and won’t have to worry about falling down. This article will also talk about some bathroom safety products which are easily available and will enhance the safety feature of the bathrooms.
Injuries caused because of bathroom fall can range from mild to severe injuries. However, these types of accidents can be avoided if you know what to do and how to do it. Let us learn how we can implement some safety precautions and can greatly reduce the chances of someone we love fall, trip, or even slip in the bathroom.
How to prevent falls?
Before you think of an answer to this question, you need to ask yourself a few questions first.
Is the bathroom floor slippery, could that be the reason why an elderly might have or may fall?
Does your elderly person need additional support to go to the bathroom, as well as while using the toilet?
Are shampoo, soap, and towels hard for the elderly to reach? Do you keep them at a distance, which makes them walk a bit more to get them?
Does the floor have anything which could result in an accident?
Is the lighting in the bathroom good enough for the elderly and everyone else to see where they are going, and where everything is?
If you have answered yes to most of the questions, then it is high time that you make your bathroom safety-proof. Not that you don’t care for the elders, but sometimes we don’t pay attention to small things that might have been causing these injuries.
What can be the consequences of bathroom accidents?
If there is an elderly using the bathroom and he/she trips or slips, the usual result can be quite devastating. A bathroom can become very slippery because of the constant running water. Bathrooms usually have hard surfaces, and they can hurt when you fall or slip.
And the worst that can happen to anyone is when they hit their head hard and fall to a sudden halt. Some of the most common bathroom injuries are broken bones, particularly in the hands and arms, painful contusions, and the worst that no one dreams of is death.
Things do happen, and they might happen if you don’t pay attention to the small details of the bathroom. Your bathroom needs to be clean and non-slippery all the time if you have the elderly at home. Children are prone to falling down as well; however, elderly people are more prone to falls, trips, and slips. Now, let’s see what can be done to prevent these accidents in the bathroom.
Things to use
Think of installing grab bars
Your body tends to get weakened as you get older, and one thing that hits the most is the balance of the body. You will notice that an elderly is not able to lift themself from places which are often slippery and wet. In and around the toilet, bathtub, and shower, you can place the grab bars to allow the elderly people to hold onto it sturdily.
Grab bars are available in multiple styles, textures, and lengths, don’t forget to do your research and choose the one that best suits the bathroom. Also, you can pick the one that will complement the bathroom as well. Readers may note that towel bar, as well as a soap dish, are not the alternatives for grab bar. They can’t hold the body weight, and they have not been designed for the bodyweight either.
A shower seat is a practical investment
As you get older, you will notice that standing for a longer period, and even moving around the house is not easy. Now imagine someone who is 80 years old using the bathroom! Those who are getting older need additional support, and the best that you can do for them is buy them a shower seat. This way, they will be able to seat and take a shower, rather than standing up, and increasing the chances of falling down.
Install shower lifts for the elderly as well in the bathroom. This will let them safely lower in and out of the bathtub whenever they want to. The unrivalled level of independence and convenience that you will get from the shower lift is incomparable. The elderly person will get the power to take a bath whenever they want to.
The installation time for shower lifts are less, and you will get to use it in some time right after they get installed. Shower lifts are very comfortable to use as well. You can submerge in the bathtub for a prolonged time and relax.
Minimizing the risk in the bathroom
This tip is very simple; however, most people overlook it. You must understand that elderly people are at more risks in terms of burns from hot water. Their skin is extremely fragile. Therefore, any faucet that releases hot water should be labelled.
In case, if you are not at home, you will know that your elder parents or grandparents will know which knob to turn to get water, and which one should be avoided. Some elderly people do feel confused between the hot and cold-water bathtub/shower faucets. This will clear the mix-up.
Install faucets levers
If you didn’t know already, you could get faucet levers both online and offline. Most people install faucet lever instead of knob faucets because they become comfortable to use, particularly for the senior people who have reduced dexterity.
Get a removal shower head
If you want the elderly at home, feel safe, install a removable shower head. This way, they will be able to sit in the shower and use the showerhead to spray water all over their body easily. This will also limit the need for movement as well, and water will easily reach all parts of the body. Thus, your elder parents, grandparents, or relatives will feel safe, and they will not have to worry about hygiene as well.
Get rid of the throw rug
Apart from all the additional changes in the bathrooms, you need to say goodbye to the throw rug that you have kept on the bathroom floor. Understandably, they look nice, but they are one of the prime reasons why an elderly may slip or trip. If there is an area in the bathroom that you can’t stand, instead of putting a throw rug, you can use double-faced taps. You may also think of using slip-resistant backings.
Preventing tub slippage
Whether you would like to accept it or not, but the bathtub that you clean every day is the slipperiest part of the bathroom. When you take a shower, it becomes slipperier. This is why you may think of installing nonslip mats, tiles, or strips to allow yourself to have that extra grip that you need.
Always keep the bathroom clean
If you see mold or slippery soap residue on the bathroom floor, make sure to clean it right then and there from the shower or tub; and on top of everything, the bathroom floor needs to be clean all the time for the elderly person to walk on it without worrying about anything.
Keep the shower and bathtub well maintain because this will weaken the chances of falling, tripping, or slipping on the floor.
Always keep it dry
While you will always make sure that the shower and bathtub are dry, you should also check whether the floor is fully dry or not. You can think of adding a weighted shower curtain as well to ensure that no water peeps out through the shower onto the floor.
Any excess water on the floor needs to be cleaned thoroughly. You can keep an extra towel in the bathroom that can be used to clear the water once you are done bathing so that the next person feels safe and secure. Use the towel to clean any excess water on the bathroom floor.
Light it up
While the bathroom will be well-lit during the day because of the sunlight, the same cannot be said for the night. This safety tip goes for everyone. You need to make sure that your bathroom has enough lights to let you see properly.
For those who wake up in the middle of the night, you can use dim light to help the person see his/her way towards the bathroom. Some even use markings and glow stickers for the elderly to see at night and reach the bathroom without any hassle.
Things to remember
An elderly person might not be able to tell you about the requirements; however, you need to ensure that you understand that your parents or grandparents who you live with are getting old, and they need help. The items that we have mentioned here are practical. They will be your lifelong investment for a purpose that will allow the elderly person to feel comfortable whenever they go to the bathroom.
Always keep the essential items within reach. Be sure that the bottles in the bathroom aren’t too heavy, a towel is close by, clothes, and everything else can be reached easily. This way, the elderly person will not have to worry about walking a few steps and fearing for themselves to trip and fall.
Those who have a habit of rushing to the toilet, someone with a loss of vision, someone with weak muscles, and more, will surely appreciate the help that you are offering to them.
While installing the grab bars, you can also use gripping taps all around the bar as well, so that the elderly person can hold it sturdily. This will allow the person using it to hold it even better. Even if the hands are wet and oily, a gripping tape will still be there for them.
If you have a dedicated bathroom for the senior people at home, you can think about getting a safety frame for the toilet as well. This one will help the person use the toilet whenever they want without putting a lot of pressure on themselves.
There are safety grab bars available as well, which are highly cost-effective. You can think of using this bar lock right on the side of the bathtub. This will give an extra hand-hold to the senior person who wants to go in and out of the bathtub.
With all these bathroom safety tips, you can rest assured that your elderly people at home will feel safe and secure. These are the tips that we wanted to share with you, rest is on you, and how well you can keep the bathroom safe. Get a few grab bars, shower chairs, shower lifts because these items will help the elderly person use the bathroom without any fuss.
Also, make sure to buy them from a reputed organization only where you will find genuine and good products. Remember, bathroom safety is of utmost importance; one small mistake can cost you a lot. Go ahead and shop from the right store for the right product.