Bathrooms tend to have naturally slippery surfaces and are often wet. Furthermore, there are sharp edges that pose additional hazards. This makes them hazardous for older people or for those who are living with chronic health issues. Are you wondering: “Why do seniors keep falling, especially in the bathroom?” Then keep reading as we explore this issue and how you can stay safe in your home.
According to the CDC’s study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR), approximately 234,000 people aged 15 and older were treated for injuries arising from bathroom activities. And four out of five of these injuries were due to falls. Furthermore, about 30 percent of adults aged 65 and above who suffered bathroom injuries experienced fractures. Additionally, among adults aged 85 and older, 38 percent were hospitalized due to their injuries.
Conditions That May Lead to Falling Episodes
Three main chronic conditions may cause older people to be more prone to falling:
- Heart disease
- Low blood pressure (hypotension)
These conditions usually cause dizziness, poor vision, and muscle weakness. However, other health conditions may also make falls more likely.
Exploring Bathroom Hazards
Falls account for the majority of accidents in people aged 65 and older. These falls can lead to serious injuries and even accidental deaths. Even seniors who appear to be physically strong and healthy can still have a fall. This threat of falling can affect your independence as you may be forced to live with a caregiver.
However, falling in the bathroom is not just a matter of slipping in the bathtub or shower. Simple actions like sitting down, using, or rising from the toilet comprise the third most likely cause of bathroom injuries among seniors. This is followed by getting out of the bathtub or shower.
Furthermore, activities that occur in the bathroom (like showering and bathing) are a part of our daily lives. But yet, falls in the bathtub and shower, or during the use of the toilet can result in severe injuries. All falls (with or without injuries) can significantly hurt your quality of life. You may develop a fear of falling and then curtail otherwise enjoyable activities.
Some of the reasons why your bathroom could be hazardous include:
- Water and condensation make the floor slippery.
- How safe is a step in a walk-in shower? Try to avoid the same.
- Soap, shampoo, and other personal hygiene products that can drip onto the floor in the bath and shower, which create a slip hazard.
- Open floor plans with no accessible handles that you can grip.
- The need to bend, reach, and lift your feet can cause you to lose your balance and fall.
- The need to switch between standing and sitting positions which may exacerbate any balance or mobility issues you may have.
Therefore, we recommend that you make the necessary adjustments to make your bathroom safe for you.
How You Can Make Your Bathroom Safe
Let’s explore what home safety measures you can implement to prevent any falls and their accompanying injuries:
- Add non-slip surfaces and grab bars inside and outside the bathtub and shower. These are quite useful to avoid having a nasty tumble. Rubber non-slip mats inside a tub or shower and outside reduces the risk of slipping. These mats are also great for caregivers to kneel on them while attending to an elderly person in the tub. Grab bars help you to safely navigate into and out of your bathtub and shower. Also, consider adding non-slip decals to your bathroom tiles to minimize fall risks.
- Install grab bars next to the toilet for added support. Solid grab bars eliminate the likelihood of you grabbing on to a less solid towel bar to adjust your balance. A towel bar may break and cause further bodily harm.
- Keep your home well-lit. This will help you to easily spot and avoid any obstacles. Some falls may be caused by tripping over objects in your home that you didn’t see in time.
- Use night lights throughout your home. Make sure that your bedroom, bathroom, hallways, and stairways are well-lit throughout the night. This will help you to make safe and uneventful trips to your bathroom and back again. Furthermore, medications and health conditions may result in more bathroom trips and extra sleepiness, so make sure that you can easily navigate between your bed and the bathroom.
- Rugs begone! We recommend that you either remove your rugs or fasten them to the floor with carpet tape. If you have carpet, then be sure to tack down the edges of your carpet to avoid a trip and fall incident.
- Don’t place electrical cords across walkways. This is one of the popular reasons why elderly people trip and fall. So keep all your walkways free and clear.
- Use non-skid wax on your floors. This will ensure that your floor is clean but minus the extreme slippage that a fresh coat of wax could cause.
- Repair sidewalks and walkways. Do the necessary repairs to make sure that you reduce the risk of slipping and falling.
Further Tips to Avoid Seniors Falling
Some of the ways you can improve your health and reduce your risk of falling include:
- Exercise! When you don’t exercise, this can lead to weak legs, which increases the probability of falling. Try light exercises to improve your core strength and balance.
- Beware of medications. You should be careful about any possible contradictions across your medications. Some combinations can lead to dizziness and/or drowsiness and increase your falling risk. We recommend talking to your doctor and pharmacist to review all your medications to lessen the chances of risky side effects and harmful drug interactions.
- Keep your eyes sharp. Poor vision can make it hard for you to navigate your home, especially at night. It is recommended that not only should you keep your home illuminated, but have frequent eye checkups. You should have your eyes checked every year and always wear your prescription glasses and contact lenses.
Let FAWSsit Help Make Your Bathroom Slip-Free and Safe!
We’ve explored the question: “Why do seniors keep falling especially in the bathroom?” There are many solutions that you can employ to make your bathroom safe. However, some of these fixes may require changes to your home’s infrastructure.
At FAWSsit, we are the pioneers of several slip-safe bathroom solutions for people with mobility issues. Our portable showers instantly transform any faucet in your home into a self-contained shower stall. Learn more about how our product works and easily minimize falling risks in the shower. Contact us today to book your consultation to see which of our products is best for you.