Did you know that up to 80 percent of falls in the home occur in the bathroom?

More than one-third of fall-related injuries happen while bathing or showering

The chance of falling and getting injured increases with age and peaks at age 85

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 SAFE IS YOUR BATHROOM?

Is the bathroom free of clutter?

Clutter in the bathroom can become a tripping hazard. Clean up the loose clutter on the floor and clear out any unnecessary items on the countertops, in the cabinets, or in the shower.

Are there loose rugs or mats on the floor?

Rugs can cause both trips and slips in the bathroom. Remove rugs with wrinkled or curled edges. Add slip-resistant backing to other rugs or mats to keep them from sliding.

Is there a walk-in shower available?

One of the most common causes of falls in the bathroom is trying to climb over the edge of a bathtub. If there is a walk-in shower available in the house, make this the primary bathing bathroom for an elderly loved one.

If a walk-in shower is not available, you might consider a bathroom renovation to install a walk-in tub or shower or installing handrails and transfer poles to help access the tub.

Can you get on and off the toilet easily?

If the answer is no, handrails should be installed next to the toilet for help sitting and standing. If the toilet and bathtub are next to one another, a transfer pole (like the Universal Floor to Ceiling Grab Bar) can be installed between the two.

Another reason it may be difficult to sit or stand from the toilet is because the toilet seat is too low. Consider installing a toilet seat riser or replacing the toilet all together.

Is there a risk of falling while in the shower or bathtub?

There are many potential causes for falling in the bathtub or shower. Slipping, over-extending, dizziness, or scalding water are just a few. Consider the following:

  • Use a shower chair or transfer bench to sit down while bathing.
  • Install handrails inside and outside the shower or bathtub to hold onto.
  • Add a slip-resistant bathmat inside the shower or tub to prevent slipping.
  • Install a removable showerhead to prevent over-extending.
  • Check the water temperature and turn down the water heater if necessary.
Are necessary items in easily accessible locations?

To prevent over-extending while in the shower, install soap and shampoo dispensers on the shower wall. Keep toiletries available without having to bend over or reach to high places.

Are walking aids or wheelchairs going to be used in the bathroom?

If so, measure the bathroom to ensure that a walking device can easily get through the doorway. Make sure that there is ample space for the walker, rollator, or wheelchair to turn around while in the bathroom. Remove anything that may impede the device from freely moving.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

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