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Avoiding Bathroom Blunders To Keep Seniors Safe And Sound

For many older adults, staying steady on their feet is a cumbersome task. For them, slips and falls can lead to significant injuries. “In Canada, falls are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations and injury deaths among people aged 65 or older,” reports the Public Health Agency of Canada, “Injuries from falls reduce older adults’ quality of life, increase caregiver demands, and precipitate admissions into long-term care.”

This is what makes bathroom safety paramount. The bathroom can be one of the most hazardous places in the home for seniors. As a result, it’s vital they avoid making the most common of bathroom blunders.

Don’t reach for high shelves.

Are there toiletries, medications and cosmetics located on high shelves in your bathroom? It’s time to change their location. Placing items in hard-to-reach areas is a recipe for accidents. Seniors should avoid any stretching or climbing to access items in the bathroom. Instead, such essentials should be kept within easy reach. Place them on lower shelves or underneath the sink. This will help to prevent unnecessary strains and falls.

Comfort Keepers agrees that all toiletries in the bathroom should be kept easily within reach. This includes those in the shower. “Mount easy-to-reach liquid soap and/or shampoo dispensers on the bath or shower wall (or shelf) to reduce the need to reach far or bend down for toiletries,” advises their website.

Wear appropriate footwear.

Many of us wear slippers or house shoes around the home. Not only is this generally more comfortable and supportive (especially on hardwood floors), but it’s also a safety precaution. Seniors are urged to wear non-slip, well-fitted shoes or slippers that are designed for indoor use. It’s best to avoid wearing socks or any other type of footwear that is void of good traction. The bathroom, as you know, generally has slippery tiles as its flooring. Proper footwear will significantly reduce the likelihood of a fall.

“If your loved one likes to walk around with socks on be sure to provide pairs that have grips on the bottom,” stresses San Antonio’s Caring Senior Service, “The grips will increase traction and help prevent them from falling especially on tile or wood flooring.”

Take your time in there.

Rushing leads to accidents. This goes double for bathroom use. Especially when we live in homes that inhabit several people, we tend to “hurry up” in the bathroom because someone else needs it. It’s wise for seniors to take their time when getting in and out of the shower, using the toilet or reaching for items. By moving slowly and cautiously, they will reduce their risk of slipping and falling.

Pelvic health physical therapist, Tami Lines also notes that rushing in the bathroom is bad for your pelvic health. “If you’re rushing on the toilet, you very likely are not allowing sufficient time for your muscles to relax,” she writes for Pelvic Health Matters, “The muscles I’m referring to are your pelvic floor muscles… Partial or incomplete bladder emptying leads to urinary retention, which means that a larger than normal amount of urine is retained in the bladder.”

At LifeCare Mobility Solutions, we offer a wide variety of home bathroom modifications to help keep seniors safe. They include oversized light switches, roll in showers, bath lift chairs, transfer benches, walk in tubs, night lights, grab bars, raised support toilet seats and shower chairs. To learn more, please don’t hesitate to call us at 416-267-9800 or email us at info@lifecaremobility.ca. You may also contact us by filling out the form on our Contact page!

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