The Ultimate Bathroom Safety Checklist
Proper Bathroom Safety for Elderly Persons is Essential
The older we grow, the more susceptible we become to injuries, especially in the bathroom. Studies have shown the bathroom to be the most dangerous room in any home, especially for seniors. The rate of bathroom injuries increases with age as we grow weaker, less able to balance, and become more prone to injury from falls. Consider these bathroom safety statistics:
Because of its wet and dark nature, the bathroom is proven to be the most dangerous area in any home. To help prevent accidents and injury, we’ve broken down each bath safety aid by the area they help with, including balance, mobility, and accessibility. If you’re in the market for bathroom safety equipment, use this checklist to help guide your decision.
For Enhanced Balance Support
Balance is vital to our safety and stability. Having the proper ability to balance aids in preventing falls and injury. Yet, it is one of the most common abilities to diminish with age. Nearly 8 million US adults report balance disorders yearly, with 40% of older adults being affected. These bath safety products listed below allow for enhanced balance and stability.
Many seniors will resort to grabbing towel bars or soap dishes for balance and support. This proves to be dangerous as these items aren’t designed to support your weight. Bathroom safety grab bars offer the perfect solution for a stable surface for support and balance. They’re versatile for most bathtubs and showers as they can be installed vertically, horizontally, and in any area, they’re needed.
When selecting the right bathroom grab bar, they're typically available with suction cups for tool-free installation or attach to the wall via screws. Suction grab bars offer more convenience, while drill-in grab bars provide more stability and support. They’re also available in various sizes, including 12”, 16”, and one’s that pivot. Grab bars for elderly persons offer a stable source of support when in the shower or tub. An adequate source of support can make them more confident and comfortable while bathing.
When it comes to suction grab bars, a key issue many have is not knowing when they're secured. To combat this, we've developed a bathroom grab bar for elderly persons that includes indicators to let you know when it's secure. The color-changing indicators turn from red to green when secured.
Bathtub Safety Rails
Bathtubs can be a significant fall risk for many seniors with balance issues. Stepping over the tub edge can cause the elderly to lose their balance and fall. Safety rails clamp onto the edge of the tub for a source of support. They require no tools for installation and can be adjusted as often as needed. They also work perfectly in unison with grab bars for additional balance support.SHOP BATHTUB SAFETY RAILS
The inability to balance increases the chances of slipping and falling. One method for reducing the chance of slips is by installing a non-slip bath mat for elderly persons. Bathroom floor safety mats offer a textured surface to prevent slips. Many have hundreds of suction cups, so they secure to the floor. The added cushion adds additional comfort as well. As they become wet, showers and tubs get a tad slippery and can pose a significant risk to elderly safety. These simple bathroom safety products offer an affordable and easy way for enhanced safety.SHOP BATH MATS
Non-slip safety shower treads are another low-cost method for adding more stability to the shower floor. They stick to the floor of any bathtub and provide additional traction to a slippery surface. Adhesive safety treads are a great non-invasive way for improved bathroom safety for seniors. They can be installed in the tub or anywhere around the bathroom.SHOP SAFETY TREADS
For Improved Mobility and Accessibility
When it comes to bathroom safety and personal hygiene, mobility is key. Being able to move around independently is vital to proper hygiene. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that 40% of those 65 and older have at least one disability. What’s more, two-thirds of the 15.7 million people studied said they had challenges walking or climbing. Those that have mobility issues may find themselves struggling with sitting down and standing up. The following bathroom safety devices for seniors empower users with a better ability to sit and stand.
Bathroom shower chairs offer a place to sit while bathing. They’re ideal for small showers or tubs and are typically made of water-resistant materials for durability and everyday use. Shower chairs for the disabled can be height adjusted to meet the users' needs, and some feature handles for additional support.
Shower chairs for seniors are available with or without back support and made of either molded plastic or aluminum. These specially designed chairs are made to withstand water contact, so they don’t rust or deteriorate. Shower chairs for the elderly even feature drainage holes to prevent water from pooling.
There are shower chairs with arms for even more support. This additional level of support provides a stable surface to hold on to when sitting or standing. If their lower body strength is weak, it may be best to select a shower chair with supporting arms.
If you or your loved one has extensive mobility struggles, then a tub transfer bench may be the right choice. Transfer benches feature a long design that sits half in the tub/shower and half on the outside. This design allows users to sit on the outside of the tub and transfer themselves into the tub. This reduces the chances of accidents as the user doesn’t have to step over a tub edge.
Another advantage of transfer benches is their size. Their large size provides plenty of room for bathing as the user can shift and pivot around on the bench. They typically have handles on them that users can use for additional support. Many transfer benches have an adjustable height for added comfort and safety. This is important as an improper height can diminish safety and make it uncomfortable to use. These types of bathroom equipment for the elderly double as bathtub and shower transfer benches.
Raised Toilet Seats
A key struggle for those with mobility issues is typically reduced lower body strength. This causes them to struggle with sitting down and standing up. Raised toilet seats for the disabled help alleviate this issue by raising the height of the toilet by 3.5” to 5”. This additional height makes sitting and standing more manageable. For those with extensive struggles, there are raised toilet seats available with toilet support arms.
If mobility is an issue, then toilet assistance for elderly persons is a must-have. Raised toilet seats for elderly persons reduce the strain put on when sitting up or down and help them keep their independence. An upgraded version to consider is a raised toilet seat with rails. The built-in rails add an extra level of support for sitting up and down.
Hand Held Shower Spray (also known as Shower WAnds)
Being able to clean our entire body is vital to proper hygiene. Yet, for those with mobility or accessibility issues, this can be an issue. On top of not being able to move around, they may experience a limited range of motion in their arms. Hand-held shower heads for the elderly, often paired with shower chairs/benches, reduce this struggle by allowing users to point the water sources wherever it’s needed. This reduces the amount they have to move around. Thus, lowering the chances of accidents.
Another type to look for is a hand held shower head with an on-off switch. This added feature allows the user to control the water flow, which minimizes the need to turn the shower off when lathering soap. A hand held shower with a diverter valve can add even more shower safety for elderly persons. This allows users to switch between the hand held wand and shower head with just the push of a button.
Being able to get to the bathroom is another key aspect of independence. But if one has severe mobility issues, this can be yet another struggle. One bathroom safety aid that can be of help is a commode. These are usually placed next to the bed for those who cannot get to the bathroom promptly. This reduces accidents and keeps users from having to struggle to rush to the bathroom.
Heavy-duty bedside commodes are easy to clean and typically come with absorbent commode liners, which reduce messes and scent. If incontinence is a significant issue, a shower commode can help as well. These heavy-duty commodes double as a transfer bench and a commode for seniors.
Toilet Safety Frames (also called toilet safety rails)
Toilet safety frames, much like raised toilet seats, add a source of support for sitting or standing at the toilet. Toilet safety frames are designed for those that don’t struggle tremendously to sit or stand but may need something to hold on to for support. They’re placed around the toilet and stand by themselves for added convenience. Another advantage to toilet safety frames is they can be used as a walker around the house.SHOP TOILET SAFETY FRAMES
Other Key Areas to Focus On
Because seniors are most often alone in the bathroom, sitting or rising from the toilet can often lead to falls or other injuries. As a fall preventative, there are a few bath safety products you can buy that make the process of going to the bathroom a little easier.
Having a cluttered bathroom is a recipe for bathroom accidents. It’s vital to ensure there is an adequate amount of clear space to walk through without stepping over or around any items.
Make sure frequently used items are an easy-to-reach area. This will reduce the strain on those using the bathroom. Make sure these items are in easy to reach spaces and even consider having a reacher grabber in place to make things easier.
Safe Water Temperature
Check the water heater to see what temperature it’s set to. Make sure it’s at 120 degrees F to prevent scalding burns.
Vision is another key area that decreases with age. Having the proper lighting will aid in preventing injuries. Consider installing a night light that stays on for added visibility.
Be sure to keep all toiletries such as shampoos and body wash well-organized and in an easily accessible location. Keep toilet paper well-stocked and within arm's reach of the toilet.
Having the proper bathroom aids and safety equipment can help keep seniors independent, healthy, and able. Bathroom safety equipment acts as a preventative to falls, slips, and injuries and may reduce the stress of those who worry. For more in-depth information on bathroom safety as well as tips, advice, and more, try these resources:
About the Author
Brandon Landgraf is the Digital Marketing Manager for Carex Health Brands. He finds passion and fulfillment in creating content that enhances, improves, and enlivens others' quality of life. All of his written work is formulated to not only offer essential advice and tips but back it with proven studies and experts. His mission is to connect with readers and provide steps to make their lives better.
You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.
About Carex Health Brands
Carex is your one-stop shop for home medical equipment and for products that assist caregivers with providing the best possible support and care for their loved ones. Carex Health Brands has been the branded leader in in-home, self-care medical products for over 35 years. Our goal is to improve the lives of our customers by bring them quality products that bring dignity back to their lives. With our three nationally distributed brands, Carex Health Brands serves national, regional and independent food, drug and mass retailers along with wholesalers, distributors and medical dealers.
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