Up to 80% of falls in the home are in the bathroom. While these falls can happen to anyone, poor muscle strength and balance issues that comes with aging increase the chances. For seniors that may experience balance issues, the bathroom can be a hazardous place. There are slippery surfaces and unreliable things to grab onto and make the chances for a slip and fall or other injuries more likely.
Bathroom Safety & Accessories for Elderly People
1. Grab bars. Seniors tend to use towel bars and other things in the bathroom to grab onto when they’re getting out of the tub but these fixtures aren’t there for that purpose. They are not installed to support a person’s weight and therefore are very dangerous to use for balance. A safer way to help seniors is to install grab bars around the bathroom. These will make getting in and out of the tub safer and getting on and off the toilet safer too. The grab bars need to be slip-resistant and the color should contrast with the walls to make them easier to see. They also need to be installed to the studs in the wall for maximum support.
2. Tension poles. These poles can be used instead of grab bars and are installed from the ceiling to the floor. Seniors can grab onto them when they are getting in and out of the tub. Tension poles are a great tool for seniors to balance themselves by providing great support.
3. Shower chairs. If seniors find standing in the shower is difficult or lowering themselves down is difficult, the use of a shower chair will provide a stable place to sit when using the bathtub. There are shower stools, shower chairs, retractable seats that fold up, as well as built-in seats.
4. Tub transfer bench. If you’re looking for a stable, safe way for seniors to get in and out of the tub, you can consider a tub transfer bench. Instead of lifting themselves in and out of the tub the elderly person simply needs to lift their legs up and over the side of the bathtub. If you add a handheld shower head, it will allow them to sit the entire time they are bathing.
5. Walk-in bathtub. Getting in and out of the tub is hard for many seniors. When a walk-in tub is installed, all they need to do is open the bathtub door and walk right in rather than stepping over the side of the tub. This eliminates the risk of slipping or falling that can happen with a loss of balance. There is a wide variety of walk-in tubs on the market to replace your existing tub.
6. Roll-in showers. These shower stalls are an accessible option for showers and have a curb-less entrance and a door or opening that is a minimum of 36 inches wide. This makes the shower more accessible for a wheelchair and makes it easier with those using walkers to get in the shower.