According to a 2016 report from the Alliance for a National Seniors Strategy, explains Sandra Martin in a special to The Globe and Mail, “in Canada, between 20 per cent and 30 per cent of people over the age of 65 fall annually, threatening their independence and general well-being and costing the health-care system an estimated $2.2-billion dollars in hospitalizations, surgeries, rehabilitation programs and other expenses.”
Not surprisingly, many falls occur in the bathroom. The often-slippery surfaces can especially be hazardous to seniors who are little less stable on their feet than the rest of us. So what can be done to create an injury-free bathroom in your home?
Install grab bars and rails.
This is a piece of advice we’ve provided in many a blog. And we’re not bound to stop any time soon. Grab bars provide seniors and those with poor balance sturdy supports to hold on to. They are designed to be much stronger than towel racks, which we must stress are not meant to support the weight of an adult.
“Grab bars and rails can be installed in the bathroom in areas where someone needs to get up or sit down, like the toilet or the bath,” explains Plucky Senior Lifestyle Magazine, “These bars will give them the added support they need to more easily navigate the bathroom. It would also be beneficial to have grab rails around the sink to help stabilize balance when leaning over.”
Put non-skid mats on the floor and in the shower.
One of our colleagues recently told us that, while staying at a relative’s home in England, he was surprised to find that the entire floor of the bathroom he used was carpeted. “It made for a warm and cozy feel,” he said, “but I can’t imagine it’s easy to keep clean.” We’re guessing that your bathroom is tiled and not carpeted. So, to avoid slips, use non-skid mats.
“To avoid slipping, a simple fix is to get non-skid bath rugs for the floors,” agrees Jim T. Miller in his advice column on HuffPost.com, “Or if you want to put in a new floor get slip-resistant tiles, rubber or vinyl flooring, or install wall-to-wall carpeting… To make bathing safer, purchase a rubber suction-grip mat, or put down adhesive non-skid tape on the tub/shower floor.”
Switch up your bathtub.
Walk-in tubs come with doors that allow for easy entries and exits. Unlike traditional bathtubs, walk-in tubs don’t insist upon their users to step over a large hurdle in order to get in. Instead, a much smaller step is required to get in and out of the tub, making tumbles a lot less likely.
“Barrier-free bathtubs feature a swinging door to help the elderly and handicapped get in and out of the bathtub,” notes Plucky, “Rather than having to step over the edge of a low tub, they can open a door, sit at a more accessible height, and close the watertight door behind them. Getting in and out of the bath can often be done without assistance once a walk-in tub is installed.”
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we provide extensive modifications for those who need barrier free access to their showers. We have slide-in tubs or walk-in tubs to meet specific requirements. Learn more about our bathroom accessibility devices by calling us at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!