Insights from Kerr Medical

The bathroom can be a dangerous place for seniors. It's filled with hard materials, sharp edges, and often slippery surfaces. A study from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) shows that 80 percent of falls among seniors older than 65, happen in the bathroom. According to research from the National Council for Aging Care, every 11 seconds, an older adult receives treatment in the ER for a fall.

Fortunately, devices and mechanisms are available to make bathrooms safer for elderly adults and patients.

Watch Out for these Problem Areas in Bathrooms

Anyone can slip and fall in a bathroom, but a senior with poor balance or diminishing muscle strength faces a higher risk.

Activities that can lead to a fall include the following:

  • Sitting down on and getting up from a toilet
  • Relying on countertops, towel bars, or the walls for balance
  • Getting into and out of the shower or bathtub
  • Tripping on loose clothing, bathmats or towels
  • Slipping on a wet floor

Areas within a bathroom that can increase the chances of an injury if not appropriately installed are:

  • Loose towel racks
  • Bathtubs with higher than average sides
  • Sliding shower doors that shift or wobble
  • Slippery floor surfaces in baths, showers or the bathroom
  • Shower chairs without slip resistance
  • Shelving or storage above a reasonable reach
  • Lower than average toilet height
  • Poor lighting that reduces visibility

Products that Improve Bathroom Safety

The team at Kerr Medical compiled this list of products that will improve your seniors' safety in the bathroom.

  • Bathroom Grab Bars. Available in various lengths, wall-mounted grab bars are useful for securely supporting patients as they use the toilet, bathtub, or shower.
  • Tub Rails. Handles added to the side of a bathtub give seniors a stable grip to aid sitting down and getting up.
  • Toilet Seat Risers with Safety Frames. The additional elevation and support bars help seniors sit down and stand up while using the toilet.
  • Commodes. If your patient struggles to navigate to a bathroom, a portable toilet is a safe alternative.
  • Bath (or Shower) Chairs and Transfer Benches. A chair provides stability while bathing for those who are frail or have limited mobility. Transfer benches make it easier to get into a standard bathtub.
  • Handheld Shower Head. Seniors can use the handheld shower when standing or sitting. Caregivers are also able to bathe patients more efficiently.

Additional Tips to Keep Bathrooms Safe for Seniors

If you're caring for an elderly parent or patient, you can improve bathroom safety by:

  • Cleaning bathtubs and shower floors frequently to remove slippery soap and shampoo residue
  • Installing nightlights and multiple 60-watt lightbulbs for more visibility
  • Placing a phone in the bathroom or investing in a waterproof medical alert system to facilitate help in case of an emergency
  • Keeping countertops and floor areas clear of clutter
  • Putting frequently used bathroom items within easy reach
  • Changing the bathroom door to open outward, if possible. If your senior patient falls against the door, caregivers or emergency personnel would have access to an outward open.

Contact Kerr Medical for Information About Bathroom Safety

With high-quality bathroom safety products from our catalog, you can help your senior parent or patient avoid becoming a U.S. slip-and-fall statistic. Call our team at 888.254.3444 or contact us online with questions. We're here to help improve the lives of our customers.

 

Reference sources:
https://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/making-bathrooms-safe-for-seniors-041013.html
https://dailycaring.com/10-helpful-products-improve-bathroom-safety-for-seniors/
https://www.aginginplace.org/7-tips-for-creating-a-senior-friendly-bathroom-starting-with-toilet-safety-rails/
https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html
https://www.aging.com/falls-fact-sheet/