Did you know the month of January is actually National Bath Safety Month? As bath safety is of particular importance to senior safety, let’s take a look at how caregivers can help to prevent accidents and dangerous situations all year long.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 235,000 people over the age of 15 sent to emergency rooms every year thanks to injuries that occur in the bathroom. Of those people, around 14% are actually admitted as patients to the hospital.
One of the most common dangers that seniors face in the bathroom are injuries caused by falls. While some are caused by slippery floors, many others are caused by bathtub walls that are too tall. Still, many seniors suffer from poor balance and lack of coordination, making it dangerous to step in and out of a bathtub without some kind of assistance.
The good news is that bathroom falls can often be prevented. By taking some simple precautions, caregivers can help to make both the bathroom and bathtub a lot safer. To decrease the likelihood of your senior loved one taking a fall while in the bathroom, consider taking the following steps:
Seniors often do not have the ability or coordination to hold on to something if they lose their balance. Add some grip to the bathtub floor by installing a slip-resistant plastic mat in the bottom of the tub. Next, you should opt for a slip-resistant throw rug outside the bathtub. This will alleviate any danger of slipping when stepping out of the bath.
In order to give your senior loved one a little more stability in the tub, caregivers should consider installing easily accessible safety handles. These will help your loved one climb in and out of the shower or tub, providing a stable place to pull up or to regain a sense of balance. You can also consider installing one of these safety handles by the toilet as well.
Caregivers should also check to make sure the bathroom floors are clean, free from items that could cause unnecessary falls and slips. Things like stray rug corners or even liquid soap spills can ultimately cause serious bathroom hazards.
Caregivers should also consider placing a phone in the bathroom in case of an emergency. Whether you choose a portable landline or cell phone, having the ability to call out during an emergency can often make a defining difference in the outcome.
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