The CDC reports that 25 percent of elders in America fall at least once in the span of a year. In 2008, the CDC reported that more than 230,000 of all falls among people over the age of 15 occurred in the bathroom. Most of these falls happened in or near the bathtub, shower, or toilet.
Keep your parent safe. When an elderly person falls, not only are broken bones possible, but there’s the risk of serious injury to the head. If your parent’s on a blood thinner, there’s the risk of excessive blood loss.
Here are tips on getting the bathroom organized and set up to help prevent falls.
Install Grab Bars in Many Locations
If your dad or mom slips or starts to lose his or her balance, a grab bar helps prevent a fall. Install sturdy grab bars, make sure they’re anchored into wall studs, near the toilet, in and outside the shower or tub, and along any long walls in the bathroom.
The ADA recommends grab bars be installed behind and on the side of a toilet. It’s also recommended to have grab bars on each wall of a shower and vertically on the closest wall where you get in and out of the shower.
Buy Non-Slip Rugs and Bath Mats
Make sure that any bath mats and rugs used in a bathroom have non-slip backing. While rugs are handy at keeping water from pooling on the floor after a shower, if they slip, they cause problems. After getting dressed, make sure your parent is in the habit of putting the bathmat up to dry.
Make sure obstacles that could cause your parent to trip are not in the way. Put the laundry hamper far under a counter or in a closet. Make sure wastebaskets are out of the way, such as in the corner to the side of the toilet. Toilet plungers and scales also need to be moved out of the way.
If there are areas of the bathroom where lighting is dim, that can pose problems. Make sure all areas of the bathroom are brightly lit, and this includes in the shower stall or bathtub. If the bathtub is dark once a shower curtain is closed, it’s not ideal.
Look into battery-operated wall or ceiling mounted lights that enhance lighting in a shower. Mr. Beams makes motion activated LED lights that you can mount on the wall or ceiling to add light.
Is balance an issue? Hire an elder care professional to be in your mom or dad’s home during showers. The caregiver can help your parent get safely in and out of the tub. Call our elder care agency to learn more about the benefits of bathing and grooming services.