Preventing Serious Injuries for Seniors with Walk-in Tubs

You wouldn’t think that your bathroom is dangerous, but for those of us who are aging, it most certainly can be. In fact, it can be one of the most dangerous rooms in your home.

The Centers For Disease Control and Prevention reports that some 235,000 seniors end up in the emergency room every year as a result of bathroom injuries. Out of those injuries, some two-thirds of them happen in the shower or tub.

To put your safety first, consider a safer shower or tub option. Here is a better option for your bathroom.

Walk-In Tubs Are Safer

The standard tub sits some 20 inches off the ground. That requires you to step up and over and onto a slippery surface.

Walk-in tubs provide a safer solution. They are designed for both seniors and disabled individuals. They make showering and bathing much easier for those who are disabled.

Why?

Because they offer an easier way to get in and out of your shower. Instead of stepping up and over a shower platform, walk-ins allow you to simply open the door and walk through. They also come with unique features like grab bars, non-slip floors, and bath seats to make it easier to maneuver once you’re inside.

Premium Design Tubs

Walk-in tubs are designed with premium features. They aren’t your standard tub. In fact, they are a great investment for your home as well. The safety they provide along with the high quality of the designs makes them an excellent option for the disabled or the aging.

Another feature they offer is the sealed watertight door. This prevents water from spilling out on to the floor and it only has a small 4-inch lip to walk over. Some even come with whirlpool features, giving you a spa in your own home.

Most importantly, walk-in tubs are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but it’s a good idea to research models that have an ADA-approved label on the side. Start your search for a new walk-in tub for your home and stay safe in the bathroom.

Raise the Toilet Height

Older adults often have a tough time lowering themselves down to the toilet seat and then getting back up to a standing position because of a lack of balance and leg and arm strength. Raising the height of the toilet seat can prevent accidents while using the toilet.

You have a couple of options from which you can choose to raise the toilet seat height. One option is to use a raised toilet seat that can be added to your existing toilet. Another option is to install a comfort height toilet in place of your current toilet, which offers a higher seat that improves bathroom safety.

Add Grab Bars

Add grab bars throughout the bathroom to give loved ones something they can hold onto to prevent falls. They can be used by the toilet to help seniors get up and down from the toilet. They can also be installed by the tub or shower, providing something stable to hold onto while entering or exiting the tub or shower. Choose grab bars that are slip-resistant, and ensure they’re securely installed to studs in the wall to make sure they offer enough support.

Install Non-Slip Surfaces

You’ll find plenty of slippery surfaces in a bathroom. The shower or bathtub floors are often slippery, making a fall likely. If water gets on the bathroom floor, the bathroom floor can become slippery as well. Add non-slip surfaces to the floor of the tub or shower, such as non-slip decals or non-slip mats that reduce the chances of a fall. Adding non-slip decals to bathroom tile floors can also prove helpful.

Remove Obstacles

Removing obstacles in the bathroom that may be easily tripped over can improve bathroom safety. Eliminate throw rugs in the bathroom, which can be easy to trip over or slip on for elderly loved ones. Don’t store items on the floor where they can easily be tripped over.

Improve Accessibility

Ensure that items used regularly are easily accessible to prevent falls while reaching up or bending down to retrieve items. Which is particularly important in the bathtub or shower, where it can already be a bit slippery. All bathing items, such as towels, soaps, washcloths, shampoos, and conditioners should be placed where they can be easily reached.

Add Lighting to Improve Visibility

Many seniors are up multiple times at night to go to the bathroom since frequent urination is a common problem. Add lighting to improve visibility at night. Make sure the walkway between the bedroom and bathroom is well illuminated. Place a night light in the bathroom. Lighting the walkway and the bathroom well at night reduces the chance of a fall or injury.

Modify Baths and Showers

Most homes have showers and bathtubs that aren’t easily accessible, creating a big safety problem for seniors aging at home. Several things can be done to baths and showers to make them safer for your loved one. Shower seats allow seniors to sit down while bathing, and along with a handheld shower can prevent slips in the shower or tub. Bath transfer benches can make it easier to get in and out of the tub.

Replacing your current tub with a walk-in tub eliminates the big step seniors need to make when getting into the tub. For seniors in wheelchairs, a roll-in shower stall offers plenty of room to maneuver and improves safety for wheelchair-bound seniors.

Take Measures to Prevent Hot Water Burns

Since aging adults have delicate, thinner skin, they often don’t notice hot temperatures as quickly, increasing their risk for hot water burns. Make sure you keep the water heater set to 120 degrees F or lower to prevent burns. Labeling bathroom taps can also prove helpful.

Change Bathroom Doors

If the bathroom door swings into the bathroom, consider changing the door to swing outward. This way if a fall occurs, it’s possible for caregivers or emergency workers to get into the bathroom to offer assistance.

Aging at home is an excellent choice for many seniors, but bathroom safety must be addressed to prevent dangerous falls and other injuries. While some modifications are easy to implement on your own, other bathroom modifications may require the help of a professional. Top of Form

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