Bathroom Falls Can Be Especially Dangerous for Senior Citizens!
How to Prevent Bathroom Falls and Injuries for Seniors
Bathroom falls are a serious threat to the health and safety of older adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries among adults aged 65 and older. In 2020, falls among this age group caused over 36,000 deaths and resulted in 3 million emergency department visits. The bathroom is one of the most hazardous places in the home for falls, especially for older adults who may have reduced vision, balance, strength, or mobility.
Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent bathroom falls and injuries for seniors. Here are some tips to make your bathroom safer and more comfortable:
- Put non-slip mats or rubber silicone decals in the bottom of your tub and on the floor outside the tub. These will provide traction and prevent slipping on wet surfaces.
- Install grab bars near the toilet and inside and outside the shower or tub. These will help you maintain your balance and support your weight when getting in and out of the tub or shower, or when using the toilet.
- Use a bath chair or bench when taking a shower or bath. This will allow you to sit down and relax while washing yourself, without risking a fall.
- Set the temperature on your water heater to 120°F (49°C) or lower to prevent burns. Scalding water can cause serious injuries and make you lose your balance.
- Keep the bathroom floor dry and wipe up any spills immediately. Wet floors are slippery and can cause you to fall.
- Make sure there is enough lighting in the bathroom, especially at night. Use night lights or motion-activated lights if needed. Poor lighting can make it hard to see obstacles or hazards in the bathroom.
- Keep frequently used items within easy reach and avoid standing on chairs or stools to get them. Store your toiletries, towels, medications, and other essentials in accessible places, such as shelves, cabinets, or baskets. Don't strain yourself by reaching for something that's too high or too far away.
- Consider using a portable bidet or a handheld showerhead to clean your bottom without using your hands. This can reduce the risk of infection and make you feel more comfortable.
- Be careful about selecting moisturizing products to add to your bath or shower water. Some products may contain oils or other ingredients that can make your skin or the tub surface slippery. Read the labels carefully and use only as directed. Rinse off any residue before getting out of the tub or shower.
By following these tips, you can make your bathroom a safer and more enjoyable place for yourself and your loved ones. Remember, bathroom falls are not inevitable. They can be prevented with some simple changes and precautions. Stay safe and happy bathing!