January plays host to the National Bath Safety Month, a 31-day observance dedicated to preventing slips and falls in the bathroom. Such accidents are one of the leading causes of ER trips in older adults. In fact, 1 out of 3 adults above the age of 60 have trouble getting in and out of the bathtub according to a study by Michigan University. Here’s a list of do’s and don’ts in order to properly honor National Bath Safety Month.
- Use a towel rack to steady yourself
- Use the sliding glass door to catch your balance
- Get out of the shower without using a mat
- Reach for toiletries out of arm’s length away
- Install grab handles where needed
- Use non-slip mats for exiting the shower
- Light up hallways that lead to your bathroom
- Make sure all toiletries are within reach
- It may seem like a good idea to use stationary bars such as your towel rack or sliding glass door to steady yourself as you exit the shower or tub. Unfortunately, they’re not as solid as they look. It’s a bad habit to have and the best alternative is to install grab handles where older adults exit the tub. This will ensure a safe exit every time.
- The same goes for a non-slip mat. Any kind of mat with suction cups or velcro on the bottom will greatly improve your safety in the bathroom. The lack of sliding will decrease any chance of falling.
- It’s also important to have lights leading to your bathroom. It is not uncommon to find yourself needing to use the toilet in the middle of the night. The last thing you want to be doing is fumbling around in the dark looking for the door to the bathroom.
- Lastly, keep all toiletries within arms reach of you. This includes soaps, shampoos, toilet paper, deodorant, etc. You don’t want to be contorting your body, reaching for something that can be right next to you, especially if you’re in the bathroom where everything can be wet. Install some ledges or even purchase some baskets that hang over the door to the shower.
Any number of these suggestions would be a good way to celebrate and honor National Bath Safety Month, but in reality the best way to celebrate is to realize that there are added dangers in the bathroom. It’s easy to lose your balance when moving around on a wet floor. Remind your elderly loved ones to take extra caution when stepping into the bath.
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