There isn’t a day that goes by without experiencing the need to use the bathroom. It doesn’t matter whether you are a senior, a toddler, or in the prime of your youth; every day, you will visit the bathroom at least once. The law of averages dictates that, with that much use, there is going to be an accident at one time or another involving the bathroom.
The truth is, one out of every four seniors experience one type of fall or another while in the bathroom each year. The National Council on Aging says that a senior dies from a fall every 19 minutes.
As if those numbers weren’t discouraging enough, at least one aging adult is sent to the emergency room every 11 seconds as a result of a fall. That is how serious this bathroom safety issue is in America and indeed around the world.
Preventing Bathroom Accidents
The sad fact surrounding it all is that many of these falls that result in injuries or fatalities can be prevented when the right kind of aids are utilized for bathroom safety.
- If you have non-slip mats in your bathtub, there is a good chance that you will not slip and fall while in it
- If you had grab bars installed, there is a good chance that you will not fall while trying to get out of the tub
- If you had a shower seat, there is a good chance that you will not hurt your back showering
These are just examples of how the right kind of bathroom aids can be utilized to minimize the number of falls, injuries, and even fatalities in the bathroom. As a senior, it is absolutely paramount to get the bathroom aids that suit your particular needs. You use this room every day—it is only logical that you make it as secure and as comfortable as possible.
Why Bathrooms are Hazardous for Seniors
In reality, bathrooms are hazardous to people of all ages. It is just that seniors are less flexible and less agile than their younger counterparts. That is why so many falls and injuries are reported in this demographic. The hazards found in the bathroom affect both seniors and younger generations alike. These include:
- Slippery floors/showers or bathtubs
- Weakly secured towel racks
- The lack of sturdy grab bars
- Low toilet seats
- Non-slip-resistant shower chairs
- Soaps that create extra slippery surfaces
With just a few essential changes, you can easily make your bathroom safer and that much more comfortable for your own private use.
Essential Bath Aids for Your Bathroom as a Senior
Of course, there is a wide range of things that you will need in your bathroom as a senior that a younger man/woman wouldn’t generally need in their bathroom. The trick is in identifying what it is you need to ensure that your bathroom is specifically secure per your needs.
While the answer to that question will depend on your particular needs, some essential bath aids are more universally necessary than others. Here is a list of some simple changes you can make to your bathroom to ensure that you have a safe and comfortable environment for you.
Install Adequate Lighting
Although this might seem like a given for most people, the lack of proper lighting in the bathroom is one of the leading causes of falls and injuries. Poor visibility compounds the risk of falls. By ensuring that the path leading from your bedroom to the bathroom is well lit is a good way to make sure that you do not have any mishaps on your way to taking a bath.
The bathroom itself also needs to be very well lit. Think of installing night lights along the path leading to the bathroom and bright shower lighting within the bathroom to improve visibility and limit the risk of falls due to poor visibility.
Ensure Essential Items Are Within Easy Reach
A lot of falls come about as a result of seniors trying to reach toiletries that are not well within reach. That action of stretching creates an imbalance in your stance that could lead to slips, falls, or muscle cramps. To avoid all this, you need to keep everything you will need for your shower or bath within easy reach.
The best way to do that is to have a shower caddy installed. The shower caddy should ideally be installed at arm’s height to make it easier to reach and navigate. This is where you should place everything you will need or your shower or bath including shampoos, soaps, brushes and so on.
The safest bet is to have your shower caddy mounted on the wall. Suction cup models tend to fall off easily. A mounted shower caddy can act as an emergency grab bar if needed.
You could also install dispensers on your bathroom wall within easy reach of your bathtub. This will eliminate the risk of product bottles falling off your hands as you try to use them. Whichever set up you choose, it should be convenient and practical for you and your needs.
Install Grab Bars and Toilet Rails
While many seniors tend to use towel racks/bars to support themselves in and out of the bathtub, these bars are not sturdy enough to support more than just a few pounds. Additionally, they are not slip-resistant. This means that they actually put you at more risk of falling.
The best option for seniors is to install grab bars and toilet rails in their bathroom. These grab bars should:
- Be easy to see
- Be slip-resistant
- In a convenient location (within arm’s reach of the bathtub)
- Be bolted to the wall
These bars are perfect for hoisting yourself in and out of the bathtub as well as steadying yourself while in the bathroom should you accidentally slip.
You can find an excellent selection of grab bars on Amazon today.
Consider Installing A Walk-In Tub
Not very common with your day-to-day bathroom, walk-in tubs are the best option for seniors who do not want to go through the hassle of having to climb over a traditional bathtub ledge. As the name suggests, a walk-in bathtub allows you to walk right into the tub and sit down as you take your bath. Essentially, this type of bathtub is much safer and more convenient, especially for those who just had medical procedures such as hip replacement surgery.
You can find an excellent selection of walk-in bathtubs on Amazon.
Install A Raised Toilet Seat
Another major issue that comes into play when talking about essential bath aids for senior bathrooms is the ability to lower oneself onto the toilet seat. As time goes, older citizens have more difficulty lowering themselves onto the traditional toilet seats that you would find in a typical bathroom. The best alternative here is to have a raised toilet seat installed.
These toilet seats are raised by about four inches and have rails on either side thus making it much easier and more convenient for seniors to lower themselves onto and off them.
To provide further assistance and more safety, you can have grab bars installed next to the toilet to help hoist you off the seat. You can easily find raised toilet seats online today. The best part is that they are not too expensive and are very easy to install.
Check Out Prices for Raised Toilet Seats on Amazon
Apart from these essential bath aids, there is more that you can do to ensure that your bathroom is safe and that you do not risk your injury every time you want to relieve yourself or take a bath:
- Invest in a sturdy shower chair
- Place non-slip mats in your bathroom
- Have an outward swinging door installed in your bathroom so as emergency workers can easily get to you if need be
- Use a bath lift
Ideally, you should hire a domiciliary care worker to help you with your personal hygiene and make sure that you are well taken care of whenever you are in the bathroom. Having a care worker with you will greatly reduce your chances of falls and improve the chances of getting immediate assistance when necessary.
Whether you have or haven’t experienced a bathroom fall before, you still need to be safe when using the commode. This is something you will do every day, so why not make the experience as safe and as secure as possible?
Many of these necessary changes are not expensive nor are they complicated. Most of them can be made within a day and you will be back to using your brand new, safe, and upgraded bathroom in no time at all.
Each year, one in four seniors will experience a fall, and many could be prevented with the right bathroom safety aids.