5 Risks Seniors Face in the Bathroom – And What You Can Do about Them
As seniors age, even the most active people become more prone to falling.
Our balance is not what it used to be, our vision changes, and our depth perception just isn’t the same. Add to that slower reflexes, weakening muscles and the occasional bout of lightheadedness, and we’ve got a lot of obstacles in the way to remaining upright!
There’s not much we can do about senioritis on a physiological level. But there are things we can do to prevent aging from holding us down – one of the most important of which is avoiding falls. Avoiding falls is important to making sure you can stay out of seniors assisted living. This is especially true in places where falls are most frequent and can do the most damage, like the bathroom. Due to its very nature that combines wet floors, hard surfaces, and compromised personal circumstances, the bathroom can pose serious risks to seniors who are aging in place and want to stay in their homes. Luckily, once the risks are identified, there are some easy fixes that can help keep you stay on your feet, at home and stay out of senior care facility.
Risk #1: Losing balance when reaching over or getting up Solution: Add a grab bar
Sometimes you may have a bit of trouble getting up from the toilet, or need to hold onto something stable to get out of the bath. That’s where a grab bar can be a huge help. The bar needs to be firmly secured to your wall, and then it gives you the additional support and balance you need to get up and be stable on your feet. Whether it’s getting up from a seated position, steadying yourself after shampooing, or having something to hold onto while you reach for the soap, you’re safer with a grab bar in place.
Avoiding falls is important to making sure you can stay out of seniors assisted living.
Risk #2: Slipping on wet floors Solution: Change flooring to slip-free surfaces
Bathroom floors can get wet and slippery with all that steam and water splashing around. Since most bathrooms have ceramic tiles or marble floors, they can get very slippery and if you do fall it is a very hard landing. This is a major investment, but if your budget allows, redoing your floors with a softer, non-slip surface like a stylish vinyl or linoleum makes for a good multi-purpose fix.
Risk #3: Stumbling over bath mats and towels Solution: Add a non-skid material to keep the mat in place
Any object on the floor, from a piece of clothing or dirty towel and straight to your bathmat can become a hazard. Even if they are part of the décor that you choose and meant to add comfort to the room. Multiple items can piles up and obstacles waiting for an accident to happen. Keep your bathroom floor as clear as possible, put clothes directly into a laundry basket, and make sure other’s in your household do the same. While a small floor rug can be great for stepping out of a cold shower, if you want to age in place, you need to make some adjustments- so to keep your matt, either buy a non-stick bathmat or add non-skid material to the one you have so that so you don’t end up stumbling over it.
Even if they are part of the décor that you choose and meant to add comfort to the room.
Risk #4: Falling on counter corners Solution: Eliminate sharp surfaces
One of the reasons bathroom falls are so dangerous for seniors living in their own homes is all those sharp corners. Think about your bathroom cabinet, protruding countertop, and the radiator in the corner and you know what we mean. Since you are making updates and improvements anyway, now is the time to renovate and replace sharp edges with softer corners for less serious impact should you fall.
Risk #5: Tripping over the side of the tub Solution: Replace the bath with a walk-in shower (and add a seat!)
Getting in and out of the bathtub perhaps presents the greatest obstacle of all when it comes to senior bathroom care. There are the high sides to step over and the difficulties of lying down and getting back up. As such, many geriatric professionals are quick to say, if you want to age in place, you need to take out the bathtub and build a shower that is easy to step in and out of. This way you step into an open space, rather than over that high side – literally removing a stumbling block from your way. In addition, it’s strongly advised to add a shower seat, for an extra line of defense against the possibility of a fall.
The “just in case” solution – Easy backup for every fix
By addressing all of these risks seniors face in the bathroom head-on, you’re already ahead of the game. These easy fixes to any bathroom space significantly reduce the risks of a fall, and help keep you safe. But no matter how careful you are, there’s still a risk of falling. That’s where a steadfast monitoring solution like Walabot HOME comes in, always working, just in case. So go ahead and have a look around your bathroom. See what you can do to make the necessary changes today. Together with Walabot HOME, these fixes will help ensure you’re well covered to continue living your best life right here in your very own home.