Recent statistics show that 1 in 3 people over 65 years have a substantial fall in any given year, and that over 60% of falls occur at home, mostly associated with going to the bathroom.
Falls are preventable and are not an inevitable part of ageing, despite older people being at an increased risk of falling due to issues such as poorer eyesight, poorer muscle tone and slower reaction times.
By implementing safety precautions, you can greatly reduce the chances of injury due to slips, trips and falls in the bathroom. We discuss our top 5 bathroom safety tips below:
Tip #1: Grab Rails
Consider installing grab rails in places where you need assistance with leverage balance, such as near the toilet and in the shower as well as at the entry of your shower or bathtub. Grab rails can also alleviate the pressure from your joints, such as your knees and ankles.
Grab rails are available in a range of different materials, shapes and sizes, and the right home modifications provider will install them based on both your safety needs and the aesthetic of your home.
Tip #2: Toilet Seat Risers
Toilet seat risers make standing and sitting easier for those with mobility issues or loss of strength in their legs, especially if the toilet currently installed in the home is low-sitting. Toilet seat risers can also be installed with safety rails, which gives the extra support some individuals may need.
Tip #3: Non-Slip Floor Treatments
Non-slip floor treatments can be used for any floor type and provide sufficient grip to the surface, reducing the chances of slips, trips and falls. A popular misconception about non-slip floor treatments is that it may damage the flooring - this is not true. An experienced home modifications provider will be able to provide the highest quality of anti-slip treatment, which is totally invisible.
Tip #4: Lighting
Ensuring your bathroom has ample lighting is key for preventing falls and injuries, particularly where vision problems and balance issues are concerned. You may consider installing sensor lights in the bathroom, or on the walkway to the bathroom, to ensure your safety during those middle-of-the-night bathroom trips.
Additionally, while a pristine white bathroom might look fantastic, the combination of lights, white surfaces and reflective surfaces can be disorientating and mask water on the floor. Simple switches like changing your regular light bulbs to frosted ones, and painting the walls a contrasting colour to your fixtures, can make a big difference.
Tip #5: Shower Safety
If you currently own a bathtub and shower combo, we highly recommend removing the bathtub and replacing it with a barrier-free shower. Bathtub floor surfaces are particularly slippery, and as the surfaces are often not flat, and individuals are required to step in and out of the bath, it greatly increases the risk of falls.
You may also consider installing a pull-down shower seat together with a handheld shower head, which can greatly improve the safety of your personal care routine.
John Barletta is the Managing Director of All Care Construction, a provider of expert home modifications, maintenance and structural renovations based in Adelaide, South Australia. His mission is to enhance the capacity and quality of life of our clients through the provision of tailored accessibility solutions.