January is bathroom safety month!
We’re celebrating Bathroom Safety all month long to bring awareness to the most dangerous room in the home
Did you know that up to 80 percent of falls in the home occur in the bathroom? Fall related injuries can vary from small scrapes to broken hips and head trauma, making it imperative to take precautions to prevent falls before they happen. The chance of falling and getting injured increases with age and peaks at age 85. More than one-third of fall-related injuries happen while bathing or showering, with 14 percent of injuries occurring while using the toilet. However, seniors over the age of 85 suffer more than half of their injuries near the toilet.
WHAT MAKES THE BATHROOM SO DANGEROUS?
Why do so many more falls and injuries happen in the bathroom? The dangerous nature of the bathroom has to do with the environment and the associated physical tasks that are performed there.
- Most falls occur while seniors are transferring in and out of the bathtub, shower, or getting on and off the toilet.
- The bathroom is typically a smaller space, which means the likelihood of hitting a head, arm, or hip increases.
- Bathrooms have hard surfaces and flooring which contributes to the higher risk of serious injury.
- Showering and bathing causes hard surfaces to become slippery. Slipping is the number one reason for falling in the bathroom.
- Toilet seats are often too low, contributing to the difficulty of sitting and standing and causes one to lose their balance.
- Rugs are one of the most commonly used items in a bathroom and can cause a loved one to slip or trip and fall.
- The bathroom is riddled with unstable objects such as hampers, shower curtains, and towel rods that might be wrongly used for balance and support.
HOW TO MAKE YOUR BATHROOM SAFER:
There are several precautions one can take to help prevent falls and make a bathroom safer. Before making a plan, assess the level of activity, balance, and health of your loved one to determine what precautions should be made to keep them safe.
Use the Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar
The Security Pole and Curve Grab Bar is the most versatile tool for fall prevention! It can be installed outside of the shower or bathtub and next to the toilet to assist in transfers. The curve grab swivels 360 degrees, making it easy to use from multiple angles and positions. Unlike traditional grab bars, it is installed with tension between the floor and ceiling and does not require permanent installation.
Install Wall-mounted Grab Bars
Wall-mounted grab bars can be placed inside the shower or bathtub to assist in position changes and transfers. We recommend installing grab bars that need to be secured to wall studs rather than suction grab bars.
Keep a Shower Bench or Chair in your Bath or Shower
Slipping inside the shower or bathtub is one of the most common causes of falls. Using a shower bench or chair can prevent slipping and fatigue. Make sure the chair has a non-slip seat and rubber feet so it won’t slide along the shower floor.
Use a Removable Shower Head and Basket Organizer in the Shower
Over-reaching is a common cause of falls in the bathroom. Reaching for the shampoo, soap, or shower head can cause someone to lose their balance and fall. Use a removable shower head at an accessible level and store soaps and shampoos inside an easy-to-reach basket organizer.
Replace Bathmats with Non-slip Rugs or Secure Mats to Floor
Many seniors slip on bathmats or trip on rugs with curled edges. Replace old rugs with rubber non-slip bath mats or place non-slip adhesive strips to the back of all rugs.
Install a Raised Toilet Seat on your Toilet
The low height of toilet seats often make it difficult to sit or stand from the commode. Using a raised toilet seat decreases the length one has to sit or stand. Many raised toilet seats come with built-in grab bars on either side for extra assistance.
Eliminate Clutter from the Floor and Organize Cabinets and Countertops
Rugs are not the only possible item found in a bathroom that can cause someone to trip or fall. Ensure that all clutter or unnecessary items have been removed from the ground. Clean out the cabinets and countertops to make all necessary items easily accessible without over-reaching.
Improve Lighting with Nightlights or Motion-sensor Lighting
Poor lighting can contribute to tripping and falling, especially at night. Keep all walkways lit with nightlights or motion-sensor lighting.
Find a Walker or Rollator that is Compatible with your Bathroom
Bathrooms are often small spaces that make it difficult to maneuver a large walker or rollator. We recommend finding a narrow and compact walker rollator, like the Trust Care Let’s Go Indoor Rollator by Stander that is intended to navigate tight quarters.