There is nothing more frightening than the prospect of an elderly loved one taking a tumble. The fear is escalated when the fall occurs in the bathtub, where the hard and slippery surfaces make for a tragedy waiting to happen. Encouraging shower safety by completing a few bathroom renovations to prevent our elderly loved ones from falls will give them more independence and give everyone involved in their care, more peace of mind.
More than 1 in 3 people over age 65 fall each year, often at home. Many do not result in major injury, however falling in the bathroom is an entirely different matter. Obviously, bathrooms are particularly dangerous, and broken bones, head contusions, and even spinal injuries can happen, especially when entering or exiting the shower.
So, what can be done?
One of the most effective ways to prevent falls in the shower is to install something to grab onto. It is true that there are normally towel bars to grab if one loses his or her balance in the tub, but the fact of the matter is that these are great for one thing and one thing only: holding towels. They generally are not strong or anchored enough to support the weight of a human being. Grab bars are stronger, more securely fixed, and have a more slip-resistant surface to encourage safety.
A shower chair will allow you to sit comfortably and, due to less amounts of stress on your joints and muscles, will lead to longer and more casual bathing. Everyone enjoys a nice, warmshower, but when you have to concentrate on keeping your balance, the joy isn't quite as strong.
Hand-Held Shower Sprayers & No-Slip Bath Mats
The shower chairs mentioned above won't be nearly as effective without the convenience of a hand-held sprayer. Using one, seniors can remain in a safe and seated position and still be able to cover their entire body—front and back—with water. And no-slip mats will help them to get solid footing when getting into and out of the shower.
If you need more bathroom tips to keep your loved one safe, check out our blog post: Smart Renovations to Make the Bathroom Safer for Seniors.
The bathroom doesn't have to be a scary place for the elderly folks in our care. If you need some more ideas about bathroom safety, refer to our Home Safety Assessment.