Problems with balance, decreased strength and a fear of falling – these are just three of the top issues that are faced by the majority of Canadian seniors. Because many elderly people are susceptible to slipping and falling, it makes the bathroom a particularly dangerous place. As we’ve pointed out in numerous blogs before, the slippery surfaces of a bathroom make the room a location where many slips and falls occur.
There are ways, of course, to ensure that your bathroom is safer for senior use. Here are three:
1. Keep it clean and tidy.
Bathrooms are notorious for being messy places. Between all of the cosmetics and cleaning products, there usually isn’t much space to spare. It’s important, however, that you find a place in the cabinets and under the sink for everything in your bathroom. Having items such as shower gels, medications, lotions and toothpaste strewn across your counters and floors create greater opportunities for injuries leading to accidents.
“The problem is that if our bathroom shelves and counters are always filled with these products, there’s a high likelihood of knocking them to the floor at some point,” notes AgingInPlace.org, “When this happens, the elderly individual will have to bend over when reaching for the object. But, it’s not that easy. Seniors grapple with stiffness and mobility loss, meaning that such activities can easily cause them to lose their balance.”
2. Let there be light.
Naturally, all bathrooms include light switches that turn on the lights. But with a senior in your home, it’s important to have more lighting options than that. A night light will ensure that there is always some form of illumination. This is vital at night when seniors venture from their beds to the bathrooms in the dark. The better they’re able to see, the less likely they will be to injure themselves.
“Regular night lights that plug into wall outlets are a great choice for bathrooms, bedrooms, and hallways,” says DailyCaring.com, “These lights might use some extra electricity and batteries, but improved lighting is one of the simplest ways to reduce your senior’s risk of falling. The ‘cost’ of a fall, both to your senior and to you, is HUGE compared to the actual cost of maintaining a well-lit living space.”
3. Make use of a transfer bench.
It probably goes without saying that most slips and falls in bathrooms take place in the shower. When you combine decreased balance with a wet, slippery surface, you’re usually asking for disaster. Transfer benches enable seniors to sit while they’re showering. That way, the risk of slipping and falling is greatly minimized.
“Having the capability to remain balanced as you shower is a factor that most of us take for granted,” AgingInPlace.org reminds us, “But as you age, this ability diminishes. It is why shower or transfer benches were invented. With a transfer bench, you can sit and rest comfortably and safely as you bathe.”
At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we proudly offer transfer benches, shower chairs, night lights and oversized light switches among many other bathroom modifications to help make bathrooms safer for seniors. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at [email protected]. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!