[originally published 2/19/15]
As providers of healthcare and medical equipment we have seen and experienced a wide variety homes and living situations. We have notices one main commonality among the aging population… Bath Safety! Not Every home has stairs needing a stairlift or stair glide, but every home has a bathroom (unless you are one of the select few who still use an outhouse!)
The bathroom can be an incredibly dangerous place for everyone but especially dangerous for seniors and persons with disabilities. We get asked almost every day “What can I do or purchase to make my bathroom safer?” There are millions of answers to that question. If you get on the internet and do a search for “Bath Safety” you could click around for days and not even touch the tip of the iceberg of products and services available. Before going to the World Wide Web in search of products one must first have a general idea of what they are looking for…
I you are one of the unfortunate Americans that has experienced an accident in the bathroom, you may already know what you are looking for to ensure that another similar accident does not happen. If you are lucky enough to have never had an accident in the bathroom, let’s try to keep it that way. First we will discuss some common mistakes that can be easily avoided.
It is very easy to avoid a slip and fall in the bathroom without having to go out and purchase new products. Try making sure that you have bath mats in places that are prone to getting wet and slippery such as tile floors. (This will also be nice and warm on your feet in the winter). Make sure that the tub or shower floor is cleaned regularly to avoid slippery soap scum residue build up.
If you do feel compelled to look for products to purchase, a simple shower floor mat can go a long way towards bath safety.
Grab Bars are extremely helpful in the bathroom provided the user has enough upper body strength. There are so many shapes, styles, colors, and sizes to choose from. It is recommended to have an expert come evaluate your bathroom and understand how you or your loved ones move around in the bathroom. This will help with strategic placement and the safest locations for the grab bars. If you do not want holes drilled in your wall or shower, consider suction cup grab bars. These seem like they aren’t reliable but they really are! We have done many experiments trying to get these products to fail with no such luck. If you follow the instructions properly these are very safe.
Raised Toilet Seat
Getting up and down while using the commode can be a challenge for some people and can lead to a fall. There are some very cost effective products out that can raise the toilet seat and help with getting up and down. You could take the expensive route and purchase an ADA-Compliant commode with a seat height 17″ or higher if you would like. We recommend a low cost raised toilet seat and addition of some arm rest supports to the side of the toilet.
These are just a few items and issues we face daily. If you or someone you know is concerned about bath safety and don’t know where to start, feel free to contact Centerspan Medical 1-844-SAFE-STAIR (844-723-3782) for more information about how to make your bathroom a safer place. We have Accessibility specialists with years of experience and a wide range of products that can help make Bathroom Safety the least of your concerns.