When adults list dangerous activities, they typically think of things like sky-diving or bungee-jumping. Walking into their bathroom rarely crosses their minds as being hazardous. However, every year, many accidents occur in the bathroom.
Falling is a significant risk for aging individuals. Many of the most dangerous falls occur in the bathroom. There are several reasons for falls in the bathroom. Water on the floor, clutter, throw rugs on the floor, and even improper lighting are some of the most common causes of bathroom falls.
If you or a loved one are entering your golden years, it’s a wise decision to take steps to make your home safer. The restroom is a logical place to start implementing safety changes. The bathroom is typically the smallest room in the house and, therefore, one of the easiest to make safer.
Related: Bathroom Hacks Everyone Should Know
Statistics of Bathroom Falls
Over 230,000 people fall in the bathroom every year. As people age, the rate of injuries from bathroom falls continue to increase with injuries being highest for elderly people who are over 85 years old. Statistics reveal that 1 in 4 people over the age of 65 falls at least once a year, with 80% of those falls happening in the bathroom.
Why Is Bathroom Lighting So Important for Seniors?
The bathroom requires good lighting for a variety of functions. Safety is one of them. Having appropriate bathroom lighting can dramatically impact the safety of the room. The bathroom is a room where brighter is better.
As we age, our eyesight often deteriorates. Seniors may have difficulty seeing even in the best circumstances. Low lighting can cause fall risks. Therefore, it’s crucial to have adequate lighting everywhere, but particularly in small, difficult to maneuver areas like the bathroom.
You might consider adding task lighting in various spaces. For example, a light around the mirror is beneficial for styling hair, applying makeup, and even providing ambient lighting when you choose to extinguish the overhead lights. If your shower is particularly dark, you might consider a small, waterproof light in that area to help keep you or your loved ones safe in the shower.
Related: Benefits Of A Curbless Shower
How Can We Prevent Falls in the Bathroom?
Some essential tips will help to make the bathroom safer and more fall-proof. Some of these tips involve changing your fixtures, but most of them are simple-to-implement ideas to help make your bathroom a little easier to maneuver in. Here are the top ten ways to improve bathroom safety for seniors.
Top 10 Tips for Preventing Bathroom Falls
- Reduce clutter—keeping the bathroom organized will help keep it safer for everyone in the home. Install cabinetry or shelves to keep things off the sides of the bathtub or out of the shower floor.
- Grab bars—installing grab bars near the tub, shower, and toilet will allow you or your loved one to hold to something if balance is lost. Ensure that your grab bars are installed well enough to support an adult who may fall or grab them to keep from falling.
- Non-slip bath mats—you’ve probably seen, and may even use, those non-skid mats that can be placed in the bottom of the bathtubs or showers to help you maintain traction and balance on damp surfaces. While these help some, they don’t always cover the entire surface. You might want to invest in a mat with a non-slip backing to step onto when you exit the tub or shower.
- Consider a walk-in tub—a walk-in tub has a door that opens to allow you to enter the tub without needing to lift your legs over the side. Typically, these kinds of tubs are automatically made from non-slip materials.
- Shower chair—If someone in your household has balance issues or difficulty standing long enough to complete a shower, you might consider purchasing a shower chair. Shower chairs allow you to sit while completing your showering tasks.
- Hand-held showerhead—hand-held showerheads are must-have accessories if you have difficulty standing for long periods or have difficulty moving. Having the showerhead move keeps you still and less likely to fall.
- Raise the toilet seat—raising the toilet seat can make it less complicated for a senior individual to sit down and get back up from the toilet. This is particularly helpful for those people who have joint issues or chronic back pain.
- Automatic night lights—when you’re stumbling into the bathroom freshly awakened from a deep sleep at night, it might be difficult to find your way to the toilet. Rather than fumbling for the light switch, consider installing night lights. Night lights that are motion detected will help decrease fall risks by ensuring that your path into the bathroom is lit at night.
- Adjust water temperature—as you age, it can become difficult to tell how hot water is. It’s a good idea to keep your water temperature set to 120 degrees or lower to help prevent burns. Cooler water temperatures can also help to reduce the risk of falling from shying away from hot temperatures.
- Eliminate throw rugs—we’ve all seen, and perhaps use, those pretty, coordinated bath rug sets. Unfortunately, those can pose a falling risk to our loved ones. When there’s a senior in the home, it’s good to remove the decorative rug to help prevent tripping or sliding down.
Making the bathroom safer for you and your loved ones can be as simple as organizing regularly used items better. These are only some of the tips available for increasing safety within your bathing space.
Your bathroom is perhaps the most used room in the house. It would be wise to make it as safe as possible for everyone in your family. Simple changes like adding better lighting, removing clutter, removing throw rugs, and adding grab bars can help to make your bathroom a more fall-proof space.