According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans 65 and older, fall every year. As we get older, chances for a fall increases. Chances increase with the natural aging process (eyesight and hearing), medications, illnesses and physical conditions. Oftentimes, muscle is decreased and bones aren’t as strong. Falls can cause a variety of injuries both non-fatal and fatal. To create a safe bathroom for you or your loved ones as they get older, follow these tips:
- Install a walk in tub – Walk in tubs are perfect for those that are aging. They can get in and out with ease without having to climb over a tub edge and fear risk of losing their balance.
- Invest in a good shower chair – Shower chairs are perfect for those that don’t have a lot of strength and need to sit during their shower. Be sure to pick a shower chair that is slip resistant.
- Install grab bars – Grab bars are good to have in the shower and even by the toilet. They help to stabilize if you are losing your balance or need a little help getting up.
- Non-slip mats for tub/shower and bathroom floor – non-slip mats are important for the tub and shower. It helps to give some texture or grip when the floor is wet. Having non-slip rugs in the bathroom are important as well. If water splashes out or there is a naturally slippery surface to the floor a non-slip rug will stay in place. If there is not one in place, there is greater risk for fall and injury.
- Make sure items are within easy reach – Having to reach up high or bend down to pick something up can be difficult and increase chances of losing balance. Having a shower caddy or dispensers at arm height make it easy for seniors to reach necessary items.
- Make sure there is adequate lighting – Poor lighting can increase the risk of falls. Check the lighting leading to the bathroom and the lighting in the bathroom. If there are areas that are too dim, install an extra light fixture; night-lights or whatever will work to ensure safety when walking.
- Precautions for emergency situations – Install a telephone or have a medical alert installed in the bathroom as a precaution just in case something was to occur.
Getting older doesn’t mean you have to lose your independence. There are things that you can do to make your home or your loved ones home safer to continue living on their own as long as possible.