Updated: Jan 24
January is National Bath Safety month and a great time to assess if it is time to consider some safety precautions for aging loved ones in your home. The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house even over the kitchen. According to a National Institute of Aging study, the bathroom accounts for 80% of falls among older adults, making it the most dangerous room in the house for this demographic. The routine of bathing, brushing teeth and getting ready for the day or ending the day take place with such regularity and comfort that it is easy to not recognize the potential dangers. Bathroom safety is a critical issue for the elderly and those with People with limited mobility due to arthritis, muscle weakness, or other medical conditions compromised health, as falls and accidents in the bathroom can lead to serious injury or even death.
Injury rates increase with age, especially those that occurred on or near a toilet that is not tall enough
In this article, we explore the various risks and hazards present in the bathroom and discuss strategies for reducing the risk of accidents and falls among the elderly and share some simple low-cost measures that can increase the overall safety of your bathroom.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year about 235,000 people visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom, and almost 14 percent are hospitalized.
Safety Risk Alert
Slippery surfaces: Bathtubs and showers, in particular, can be extremely slippery when wet and can be especially dangerous for the elderly, who may have difficulty maintaining their balance. Only 2.2% of accidents happen when people get into the tub or shower, but 9.8% happen when they get out.
Hot water burns: Many elderly individuals may have difficulty adjusting the temperature of the water, and may accidentally turn the water too hot, leading to burns. The main reason an older person is more likely to get burned is that they take longer to react. People's skin changes in a few ways as they get older. First, older people have thinner skin than younger people, so they burn at a lower temperature. It also burns more quickly.
Toilet falls: Many elderly individuals may have difficulty with balance and struggle to safely get on and off the toilet.
Layout cautions: Clutter and items that obstruct a clear walkway can lead to tripping hazards and areas that are not well lit as well as decorative mats.
Keep Safety First
Avoid falls in the shower by Installing safety handles in the shower and on the wall next to the shower to assist with getting in and out.
Put down slip-resistant mats in the shower/tub
To reduce burn risk, install easy-to-use controls for water temperature and set the temperature of the hot water heater no hotter than 120 degrees.
To avoid falls off the toilet, install a handle on the wall to assist with standing. Also, consider installing a toilet with a higher height.
Clear the clutter and lose mats and leave a night light to help your aging loved one navigate the bathroom in a safer way.
Bathroom safety is a critical issue for the elderly population and those with limited mobility, and it is important to take steps to reduce the risk of accidents and falls in the bathroom. By installing slip-resistant surfaces, easy-to-use controls for the water temperature, and support and assistance in the form of grab bars and raised toilet seats, as well as considering the overall layout of the bathroom, you can help ensure the safety and well-being of elderly individuals.
Falls among adults 65 and older caused over 34,000 deaths in 2019, making it the leading cause of injury death for that group.
If you find yourself or a loved one has reached a point where it is time to consider assisted living, the bathrooms at Blakey Hall come equipped with lifted toilets, handrails in the shower and by the toilet, wand shower heads, and a low threshold from the bathroom to the shower. Reach out today to schedule a tour of our facilities. We welcome the opportunity to share the amenities and many safety features with you.