Senior Safety- Falls Prevention and Bathroom Safety

It is a sad fact of life that as we age we become less mobile and more accident-prone.  The bathroom constitutes one of the biggest safety risks for senior citizens because it combines slippery surfaces with water and soap.  However, the bathroom also represents a place where people value their privacy and do not usually welcome the prospect of having to request the help of others to complete everyday tasks such as washing and using the toilet.

In order to assure bathroom safety, there are a number of basic measures that can be taken to make the bathroom a safer place for senior citizens while also allowing those individuals to maintain their dignity.

Lighting

Good lighting is critical to ensuring that a bathroom is a safe place.  Install a good nightlight that remains lit throughout the night and make sure that the path to the bathroom is clearly lit.  Ensure that all light switches are easy to reach and locate and that the lighting provided is sufficient to light all areas of the bathroom.

The floor

Clothes and loose items should never be left on the bathroom floor as they can pose a tripping or slipping hazard.  Place a large washing basket in the bathroom to encourage people to place dirty clothes and used towels directly out of harm’s way.  Exchange all rugs and bathmats for non-slip mats that are strongly held in place and regularly clean the bathroom floor in order to ensure that it is dry and free of any slippery substances.

The shower and Bathtub

Rubber suction mats are critical for both the shower and the tub.  Ensure that they are washed regularly and any build up of soap or other cleaning products are frequently removed.  In addition to these, it is useful to install grip bars and a bathtub rail at heights that are suitable for the individual who will be using the bathroom.  All towels, bath products and appliances should be within arm’s reach and easy to locate.

All of these measures are simple and inexpensive yet they potentially allow a senior citizen to maintain their independence; something that is invaluable.