Falls are a serious hazard that the elderly and people with mobility issues face every day – and the majority of falls happen in the bathroom. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared the bathroom the most dangerous room in the house.
But with some modifications, the bathroom can be a safe space for people of all mobility levels. Here are Beyond Barriers’ top 10 tops for increasing the safety of your bathroom.
- Brighten Up
Good lighting can help reduce disorientation and falls in the bathroom. Upgrade to light bulbs with more lumens, and, if necessary, install additional lighting fixtures. For nighttime visits, an illuminated switch can be helpful, while a nightlight in the hallway can make the trip easier to navigate.
- Throw Out the Throw Rugs
While throw rugs are a bathroom standard, they also pose a serious tripping hazard. Getting rid of them entirely is the safest option, but if you do opt to keep a rug in the bathroom, make sure it is secured with a non-slip backing.
- Keep It Dry
The smooth, hard surfaces found in bathrooms are especially dangerous when wet. To avoid slips and falls, keep the bathroom floor and countertops dry, wiping them down after showers.
- Keep It Unlocked
A lock on the bathroom door offers a feeling of privacy – but if a fall or injury occurs, time is of the essence, and a locked door can keep you from getting help to your loved one.
- Put Non-Slip Mats in the Shower
A single non-slip tub mat is the safest option for improving traction. Just be sure to keep the mat clean, wiping and drying it after each use, as mold or soap scum build-up can make them slippery.
- Add Grab Bars
Weight-bearing grab bars and hand railings should be added alongside the toilet and both inside and just outside of the shower. These make transfers (from sitting to standing, etc.) easier and safer. Grab bars come in a variety of colors and styles to match any bathroom, but you should also look for rust-free options with a non-slip texture.
- Raise the Seat
In conjunction with grab bars, a 4” or 5” toilet seat riser can make using the bathroom an easier and safer experience for those with limited mobility.
- Keep Help Accessible at the Touch of a Button
Installing a medical alert system in the bathroom – or even just a phone – increases the chance of your loved one being able to call for help if a fall occurs. This is especially valuable for seniors or people with disabilities who live alone.
- Add a Bench or Swivel Seat
A transfer bench or swivel seat allows your loved one to “slide” into and out of the tub while in a seated positon. Bathing can then be done while comfortably seated, therefore requiring less exertion from both the user and the caregiver.
- Upgrade to a Walk-In Tub or No-Step Shower
For the ultimate in bathroom accessibility, consider a shower or tub renovation. Walk-in tubs are available for those with limited mobility, while barrier-free showers allow wheelchair users to roll directly in. Many options are available to fit virtually any needs, space, and budget.
How safe is your bathroom? Beyond Barriers can help make sure nothing gets overlooked – contact us for a free, no-obligation evaluation of your bathroom and beyond.