Bathroom injuries can happen to almost anyone at any age, but seniors are more susceptible to sustaining severe or fatal injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recognizes the bathroom as one of the most dangerous places in the house, estimating around 235,000 ER visits due to bathroom injuries every year.
Injuries tend to be more severe or fatal for older adults, as their bodies have less stability and strength to handle physical trauma. That said, if you have an older adult in the house, it's crucial that you make your bathroom senior-friendly with the following modifications:
1. Walk-in tub
Walk-in tubs can make it easier for independent seniors to get in and out of a bath without injuring themselves. Moreover, it can make it easier for caretakers to bathe their elderly patients if the individual has limited mobility.
If your elderly family member can no longer walk, you can also opt to get portable walk-in bathtubs. This type of tub will allow disabled patients to bathe without having to go to the bathroom, which will minimize the risk of injury altogether.
For people 85 years old and above, most of their injuries occur near the toilet while getting up and sitting down. You can make it safer and more comfortable for an older adult to use the bathroom by installing grab bars or handrails so that they have something to hold onto. At the same time, you should also install grab bars by the shower and bathtub so they can support themselves while moving in and out of the area.
3. Non-slip surfaces
Slipping and falling can cause severe injury to seniors, or even an untimely death if they are unlucky enough. Protect your seniors from slip and fall hazards by putting non-slip mats in areas where it's likely to be slippery, such as near the bathtub, shower, and sink.
4. Raised toilet
When you reach a certain age, your joints won't work as well as they used to, and this can make it difficult to sit down and stand up. Thus, raising the toilet height can make going to the bathroom much more comfortable for seniors.
5. Spray attachment
A handheld showerhead can make showering and bathing easier for seniors since they don't have to move their entire body around to wash. It can also prolong the period of independence because they won't need much help to reach certain areas of their body when bathing or showering.
6. Extra lights
Our eyesight tends to get worse as we get older, and this can make it harder for older adults to see things clearly in the bathroom. Install more lights in the bathroom to improve visibility and reduce the chances of tripping or falling.
7. Shower seats
It can be difficult for the elderly to stand up for long periods, so installing a seat in the shower is a great way to let them bathe comfortably.
The bathroom can be the most dangerous place in the house for everybody, especially seniors, due to the hazards present in and around it. If a loved one is living their last years at home, these are some of the crucial modifications you should invest in.