January is National Bath Safety Month!
The idea is to bring awareness to the potential hazards that are in all of our bathrooms and the dangers they present to everyone but especially to children and seniors.
Preventing accidents and injuries in the bathroom is important to the elderly. Using the bathroom and bathing or showering on their own is a treasured part of staying independent.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics say that one in four seniors over the age of 65 will have at least one fall per year. Over half of those falls happen in the bathroom.
More than three million elderly people will be treated for injuries in the emergency room each year and that number just keeps growing every year.
So, avoid being part of those statistics and take some time this January 2021 to help to make your bathroom a safer place in your home.
Tips On How To Make The Bathroom Safer
There are many things that you can do to make your bathroom safer for yourself and for senior loved ones.
Install Sensor Lights
A motion sensor light is a great way to keep the room lit for older adults especially if they tend to need to use the bathroom throughout the night.
Also, if they are using a walker – a motion sensor light can provide a well lit area without them having to let go of the walker to turn the light on.
Install A Timer On The Exhaust Fan
It’s easy to forget to turn off the exhaust fan in your bathroom, especially if you have trouble hearing.
So, using a timer on the bathroom fan will help you to prevent possible fire hazard from leaving the fan on overnight or for too long.
Add Grab Bars Throughout The Bathroom
Grab bars are usually the first thing that many older adults think of when it comes to making their bathroom safer.
And many put the grab bars in their shower / tub / toilet. But the truth is, grab bars can be installed throughout the bathroom.
Read our article, Where To Put Grab Bars In A Bathroom (And How To Install Them), for more information.
Add an Emergency Call Button
We’re all aware of the Life Alert type of wearables and buttons that can help the user to call for help.
These emergency buttons are wonderful but many seniors remove them when they need to bathe, wash their face, etc. So, they don’t often make it to the bathroom.
No need to worry – Life Alert does offer a shower HELP button that can be used.
But you can also an Alexa device in your bathroom and use the Buddy Alert skill or simply call for 911 by saying “Alexa, call 911”
Use Non-Slip Mats, Shower/Bathtub Treads
We generally recommend to remove throw rugs throughout the house but the bathroom is one room where a mat is most often needed.
So, the recommendation then is to use one that is non slip.
Here are some that you can choose from.
But don’t forget about the shower / tub floor! These are areas that also need a non-skid surface like this Gorilla Grip Shower Stall Mat.
Add a Shower Seat / Bathtub Bench
Seating in the shower / bathtub is very important, especially as you get older.
It turns from a convenient feature to a safety one as you age in place.
Install A Handheld Shower Head
Hand held shower heads are just one of the most inexpensive and easiest ways to enjoy your shower and stay safe all at the same time.
Make sure to get one that you can mount anywhere in the tub/shower and that also has a pause switch on the handle.
Install a Taller Toilet or Raised Toilet Seat
It may seem silly at first, but when you start having trouble getting up off a toilet – you’ll recognize how important a properly sized toilet can be for you or a senior loved one.
You do have the option of course of replacing your toilet with a taller one but a less expensive alternative is to replace your toilet seat with a raised one.
Remodel The Shower To A Walk In Shower
Barrier free showers are something that I’m seeing more and more of in the new homes being built around me.
This is excellent because if you plan on aging in place, you want a shower stall that has no threshold to step over.
Yes, this takes some construction work but if you plan to stay in the home for the next 10 years or more – I would highly recommend it.
Use a Bathtub Lift or Install a Walk-In-Tub
If bathing is your thing, you don’t have to give it up.
You can install a walk-in-tub (which I know can be expensive but luxurious).
Or you can also use a bathtub lift to help you get in and out of your bathtub safely.
Change Doorway Threshold
Doorway thresholds can present a problem for seniors using a cane, a walker or a wheelchair.
You can eliminate this obstacle by replace it with a thin transition strip.
All of these changes can help to make your bathroom a safe place for you or a senior loved one!
So go ahead, celebrate National Bath Safety Month by implementing at least one of these tips in your home.