Tips for Making Your Bathroom a Safer Space for Seniors

By on August 11, 2017
Tips for Making Your Bathroom a Safer Space for Seniors

Not many people are aware that the bathroom is potentially one of the most hazardous areas inside the home, office, or establishments such as hospitals and schools. Did you know that in 2008, the Centers for Disease Control reported as many as 21.8 million individuals who sustained nonfatal, unintentional injuries from mishaps inside bathrooms? The CDC further notes that such injuries cost as much as $67.3 billion in lifetime medical costs.

Injuries from bathroom accidents can even prove to be fatal for people such as the elderly or young children.

The good news is that these types of injuries are easy to prevent, starting with making your very own bathroom at home a safer place. Here are a few tips to improve bathroom safety:

  • Illuminate your bathroom adequately, either through natural light from windows or artificial indoor lighting. Make sure to install the proper lighting fixtures in order to avoid accidents especially when using the bathroom at night. You can also try out lighting systems with motion sensors for automatic illumination.
  • Make sure the flooring is always dry. Check for leaks from pipes or drainage systems that might cause puddles. Install rubber mats or apply non-skid adhesive strips, especially on surfaces of bathtubs or shower areas. Place absorbent mats anywhere there is potential to spread water on floors outside of tubs or showers.

Always Keep Clean

  • Mold, mildew, and soap scum that build up on bathroom surfaces such as tiles, sinks and toilets can end up on the floor and make it slippery. Make sure to wash and wipe down these surfaces regularly. A simple bleach solution can do the trick in preventing mildew and soap scum.
  • Likewise, always keep soap and shampoo containers off the floor to prevent spills that might cause someone to slip.
  • Clean up clutter inside the bathroom to give occupants greater freedom of movement. Do away with too many shelves, wall hangings, plants or other furnishings. Do not allow children’s toys or reading materials like magazines and books to pile up inside the bathroom.

Consider Special Needs

  • If you have elderly or special needs residents, consider installing a security or alarm system, or a phone line inside the bathroom that they can use to call for help if they fall or find themselves in an emergency situation.
  • Install safety rails, grab bars, and handles along the walls for easier and safer mobility. Commodes can also be fitted with fixed or portable frames to make them more accessible and easier to use.
  • Seniors can also greatly benefit from devices such as bidets or handheld showers when using the toilet. Such conveniences lessen the effort required to clean themselves, and thus reduce the risk of injury.
  • Medical patients, the handicapped, and the elderly can also use the bathroom more comfortably and conveniently through the use of accessories such as raised toilet seats, shower chairs and bath benches, and powered bath lifts.
  • Consider using a commode, which is collapsible and portable for use in other rooms of the house, or even outside when traveling.

As the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Most accidents in the bathroom are completely preventable through good safety and cleaning habits. Just as well, this can be done with the use of proper bathroom accessories and equipment, especially for homeowners with unique needs such as seniors or those with medical conditions or disabilities.

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Tips for Making Your Bathroom a Safer Space for Seniors