What?s the most dangerous room in the house? You might be surprised to learn that it?s the bathroom. According to the New York Times, approximately 235,000 people over the age 15 visit emergency rooms due to injuries occurring in the bathroom each year. What?s more, the majority of those who get injured are over 85.
Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to prevent yourself and your elderly loved ones from becoming a statistic. January is National Bath Safety Month, so let?s take a look at steps you can take to make your bathroom safer.
Install A Raised Toilet Seat
This is particularly useful for elderly people, as the toilet is one of the top areas in the bathroom where people over 85 get hurt. A raised toilet seat can help people who have trouble bending or sitting due to hip or knee problems.
Another important step to take to prevent injuries in the bathroom is to install handlebars in strategic locations. This includes in the bathtub, but also near the toilet and/or sink. This will give people something to hold onto as they raise or lower themselves in and out of the tub or maneuver around the room. It?s recommended to install real bars, by the way, and not rely on towel bars or racks, as they are not designed to support human weight.
Put Essentials Within Reach
One way to prevent falls in the bathroom is to make sure you don?t have to stretch or bend over too much to get the things you need. That might include hairbrushes, toothbrushes, tooth paste, and Q-tips near the sink, and shampoo, conditioner, and soap in the tub or shower. You may also want to consider adding liquid soap dispensers, as this can help prevent dropping items.
Non-slip mats are possibly the easiest thing to add to a tub or shower to make them safer. You may also want to consider getting non-slip mats or rugs for the bathroom floor.
Try A Walk-in Tub Or Shower With Seats
Traditional tubs can be difficult to get in and out of when raising and lowering your legs is an issue. What?s more, it?s not uncommon for elderly people to experience lapses in balance and equilibrium. Standup showers without seats aren?t much better, particularly for those who don?t have the strength anymore to stay upright. For these reasons, it might be a good idea to look into getting either a walk-in tub or a shower with seats. This can make getting in and out of the bathing area much easier, safer, and more comfortable.