National Safety Month was created to raise awareness of health and safety risks in the home and workplace. For older Americans, one of the most common accidents involves falls. In fact, according to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans aged 65 and older fall each year. In the home, bathrooms are among the mostly likely places to fall, and can result in more serious injury than other rooms. The good news is that there are things you can do to prevent bathroom falls.
Optimize Safety in Your Environment
Up to half of all falls are due to environmental causes like poor lighting or tripping hazards. What actions can be taken to modify a bathroom to prevent slips, trips and falls?
Bathrooms typically offer little natural light, so it is important to add bright lighting. This is especially true for the shower or tub area where a closed curtain or shower door can block out too much light.
Ensure there is a clear path to the tub, toilet, sink and door. Avoid leaving cords hanging off countertops and towels sitting on the floor. Look out for water that may have spilled out from the tub, toilet or sink. Hard bathroom floors and water are a dangerous combination. Using bathmats with nonslip backing can help to avoid slippery surfaces and tub splash guards can minimize spillovers that are not caught by a shower curtain.
In the bathtub itself, an easy safety measure you can take to reduce the chance of slipping is to line the bottom with a rubber mat. These mats are made to add traction and help feet maintain a solid grip in wet environments.
Hold on for Easier Mobility
Not only do grab bars in the shower and near the toilet help occupants get around the bathroom with greater ease, but they also provide a sense of security that there is something to grab onto in the event of faintness, fatigue or loss of balance.
Safety rails can help when sitting or standing up from the toilet. They are available with foam grip handles, which provide secure hand positioning in the case of an emergency leading to a slip or fall. The legs can be adjusted to your preferred height, and the handles are positioned to give you the perfect amount of comfort.
For optimum safety, you can install a grab rail with Safety Grip, which is a peened finish on Stainless Steel Handlebar™ Grab Bars that makes them easier to hold on to. This finish can be especially helpful if the grab bar is going to be installed in an area that may be wet or if the user's hands may be wet, like a shower. Check out our recent blog post on how to choose the right grab bar here.
Concerned that grab bars will take away from your bathroom’s aesthetic? Don’t be! From designer grab bars featuring contemporary, sleek designs to 2-in-1 grab bars beautifully crafted to incorporate safety support with functionality – whether it be a shampoo shelf, toilet paper holder or towel bar – there are many options that not only complement but add to your bathroom ambience.
Take a Seat
Adding a bench or seat to your bathroom can help make bathing a more relaxing experience, as well as help to improve mobility and bathroom safety. Adding a moveable shower stool to your shower, for example, gives you the option of sitting and a chair that you can adjust. A wall mounted seat, on the other hand, is a sturdy option that can even tuck back into the wall to free up space when not in use. Read our guide to shower seats here.
Ready to make safety improvements in your bathroom? Browse our ADA compliant safety products: https://www.grab-bar.com/collections/bathroom-safety-products