If you are a caregiver for a loved one living with a disability or for an older adult, you probably already know that the smallest room in the house is also the one responsible for most of the home accidents and injuries. According to the CDC, women are at greater risk for falls in the bathroom. For older adults, falls around the toilet are most common. Head injuries make up 31% of the injuries.
To help you keep your loved one safe, we have pulled together a list of 7 bathroom safety tips:
1.Replace towel bars with sturdy grab bars. It is often too great of a temptation for people who need a little assistance to try to use a towel bar to pull themselves up with, especially near the toilet. Most towel bars are not installed to handle that kind of pressure. They may tear away from the wall and cause a fall.
2.Seniors are typically the least compliant about wearing a medical alert necklace or bracelet when they are making a quick trip to the bathroom. But the statistics show it is the room where most falls occur. Adding a panic button with a long pull cord to a bathroom wall can provide a solution.
3.Having a toilet seat that is at too low of a height can create a fall risk for those with a disability or for less than steady older adults. Raised toilet seats are easy to install and inexpensive to purchase.
4.Consider having one of the bathrooms in the house renovated to create a walk-in shower. Ideally, you will want to create a shower that they don’t have to step up and over the side to use. Also avoid having sliding glass doors on the shower. A loved one might be tempted to use them for support and they may break when used in that manner.
5.Non-stick floor decals and floor mats can help to prevent a fall when an older adult with wet feet is getting out of the shower. You can use them on the bottom of the shower stall and on tile floors in the bathroom.
6.Make sure there is good lighting in the bathroom including a light over the shower. Placing small motion lights along the route your loved one uses to go to and from the bathroom at night are also important.
7.Consider hiring an occupational or physical therapist to evaluate your loved one’s bathroom and make recommendations on how you can improve the safety of it. Most will provide this service at a reasonable fee.