If you provide care for a favorite senior who lives in their own home, then it is important to learn how to help them prevent falls around the house. According to the National Council on Aging, falls are the most common cause of both fatal and non-fatal injuries in seniors. While taking steps to protect your loved one around their entire home is important, it is especially important to help your loved one stay safe in the bathroom -- about 80 percent of at-home falls suffered by the elderly occur in the bathroom.
Read on to learn about two ways you can help protect the senior you love from bathroom falls that can be fatal.
1. Help them Keep Their Bathroom Well-lit
If you tend to check on your elderly loved one during the day, then be sure to visit them in the evening on occasion to make sure all of their in-home lighting is working properly. If your loved one suffers from mobility problems or arthritis, then changing light bulbs around the home, especially those located on the ceilings, may be so difficult for them that they neglect to change them at all.
Take extra care to determine if bathroom lighting is working properly and providing bright light in the evenings. If your favorite senior doesn't have a night-light in their bathroom, suggest that they install one (or install one for them) in case they opt to leave the lights off when using the bathroom in the middle of the night.
If you or your senior have enough room in your budget, you can instead suggest that they have a motion sensor installed in the bathroom that automatically turns on the light for them as they enter the bathroom. This is an especially helpful item for seniors with mobility problems who may find reaching for the light switch while using a mobility device, such as a walker, difficult.
2. Consider Helping Them Install a Walk-in Bathtub
Almost 70 percent of bathroom falls occur in and around the bathtub. These falls can occur when seniors are walking into the bathtub and must step over high bathtub edges to get inside, are walking out of the bathtub with wet slippery feet, or are simply washing up inside the bathtub.
While ensuring that the bottom surface of the bathtub is covered with an anti-slip mat and that non-slip rugs are in place outside of the bath tub can help prevent some bathroom falls, having a walk-in bathtub installed in their bathroom is a great additional step to take to protect your loved one.
There are four main types of walk-in bathtubs: soaker tubs, hydrotherapy tubs, bariatric tubs, and wheel-chair accessible tubs. Each has their unique advantages and some offer additional benefits great for seniors.
All walk-in bathtubs feature a leak-proof door that your senior can open before they enter the tub to eliminate the high step they must make to get into a traditional bathtub. Eliminating the high step they must take into the bathtub can prevent the "balancing act" they may have to make when entering their current tub that could one day lead to a bad fall. In addition, if your favorite senior suffers from arthritis, eliminating this step can help prevent the knee and/or hip pain they likely experience when stepping into their current tub.
Most walk-in tubs are also equipped with built-in shower seats that your senior can sit on when showering to greatly reduce the hazard of falling when inside of the tub and grab-bars that they can hold onto when inside the shower and when entering or exiting.
A hydrotherapy tub features built-in water and/or air jets that can help ease your senior's sore muscles and/or aching joints when they are relaxing in the tub, and bariatric tubs are the best option for seniors who are overweight or obese. If your senior uses a wheelchair, then a wheelchair shower is the best option for them due to this type of walk-in tub's larger door that makes wheelchair-to-shower transfers safer and easier.
If you look after or provide care for a favorite senior, then follow these two tips to help them prevent falls in the bathroom. For more information, contact companies like TwinCity Stairlifts.
I was badly injured a year ago, and it took a long time to get back to my normal level of ability. One of the things that helped more than anything was the time that I spent in physical therapy. I didn’t always love going to physical therapy – in fact, sometimes, I really didn’t enjoy it at all. But ultimately, the therapists and other patients I worked with helped inspire me to get better, and the exercises facilitated my healing process. I started this blog to talk about all of the things I learned about physical therapy and healing during my recovery time. I hope my blog reaches other accident victims. I want to offer encouragement, hope, and information for people who are in the same boat that I was in.