This month, we all look for ways to stay safe. One area needing closer attention is the bathroom. Every year there are approximately 200,000 bathroom accidents, and unfortunately, many of them are preventable. The elderly, in particular, are very vulnerable. Difficulty getting on or off the toilet and into and out of the tub or shower, can result in injury from a fall. The average healthcare cost from a fall is about $19,500. Below, are a few things that can lessen the chances of falling in the bath.
Never use a towel bar or sliding glass door to assist in entering or exiting the tub or shower. They are not securely anchored and could easily pull out, resulting in a fall. If extra support is needed, install a grab bar in the appropriate location.
Slick surfaces both in and just adjacent to the tub or shower can pose a slipping hazard. This can easily be resolved by adding non-slip mats in both locations.
High tub sides can result in a serious instability problem when stepping in or out of the tub. Conversion to a walk-in is a great solution, but it is also very expensive. Using a simple transfer bench can help eliminate this risk at a fraction of the cost.
Insufficient lighting is the cause of a significant number of falls and can easily be eliminated with the addition of a night light.
Bathroom items that are not in easy to reach locations can cause off balance positions, resulting in increasing risk of a fall. Make sure all items are within easy reach.
A low toilet seat can make sitting and standing a significant problem, particularly with no supports to hold on to. Straining to sit or stand can cause off balance conditions and lead to a fall. The simple addition of a raised toilet seat or a seat frame with side handles can greatly reduce the risk of a fall.
For most of us, the above conditions are not risk factors for fall injuries. However, for seniors, itís an obstacle course filled with danger..