Safe Bathrooms For The Elderly
According to recent reports on senior living, falls remain to be the leading cause of hospitalizations for injuries among senior citizens in Canada. It has been estimated that around 20% to 30% of seniors suffer a fall every year. And the Public Health Agency of Canada reports that over 33% of the senior citizens who get hospitalized due to a fall are often sent to long-term care. To make matters worse, these absolute figures are on the rise.
Several reports also evaluate how much of an effect these falls have on the lives of the senior citizens. Aside from the physical pain and disabilities that follow a fall, it also causes undue emotional stress and mental trauma, not only in the minds of the seniors themselves but also on the minds of the caregivers.
The consequences of a fall are also likely to take a toll on the life of the senior, causing further hospitalization in future, chronic pain conditions, fractures, more particularly hip fractures and an increased risk of death.
What’s even more worrisome is the fact that the number of deaths caused due to falls is also increasing. Over the period between 2003 and 2008, the number of deaths increased by 65%.
Having seen a fairly clear picture of the risk of senior falls, it is up to the caregivers to ensure that they provide a safe environment for their senior loved ones. And considering the fact that the majority of falls among seniors occurs in bathrooms, that is exactly where some action needs to be taken.
There are indeed a few changes or modifications you can make in the bathroom of a senior loved one, that would help the senior a great deal and perhaps prevent falls altogether. A number of effective senior living aids and hardware for fall-proofing bathrooms are available at Mobb HealthCare.
Here are some ways in which you can use those products to create a safe bathroom for your senior loved ones.
Raised toilet seats
Seniors with joint issues, weight problems or neurodegenerative issues may have trouble sitting and getting up from the toilet. Their muscles may not be able to carry their weight when they are trying to use the toilet and may end up stumbling. That is where raised toilet seats can help. They allow the seniors to keep their knees straight and stable, and reduce the risk of a fall. There is a wide range of options in terms of raised toilet seats for seniors. They come in different sizes and models to suit different people as well.
Another simple yet effective modification you can make in your senior loved one’s toilet is to install grab bars or grip bars. Some possible places you can install these accessories include one over the bathtub, one or two beside the toilet, one or two in the shower area and one or two on the way out of the bathroom. It gives something for the seniors to hold on to if they find themselves in a compromising position. It also provides them support to walk and move inside the bathroom. There are many types of grab bars made from different materials for seniors. There are also grab bars with grip balls attached that keep the hand from slipping off the bar.
Non-slip bath rugs
Non-slip bath rugs are important in any bathroom. But they are specifically important for senior bathrooms as the risk of falling is higher for them. They are a pretty simple addition to the bathroom and ideally, they should be placed on all places where there is a chance of slippage. This includes the bathtub and shower area as well.
Seniors may not be able to stand for long periods of time owing to their lack of stamina and core weakness. Hence, it is important to provide support while they are showering. Shower chairs are designed to help elders shower sitting down. They also come with height adjustment settings and rigid legs with rubber grips that allow the chair to be placed anywhere in the bathroom including the bathtub. These can also be used by caregivers to bathe their seniors.
Toilet seat rails or frames
Toilet rails are something you can install along with toilet seat raisers. They provide additional support in getting up and sitting down on the toilet. They are available in two models; ones that can be attached to the toilet seat and ones that stand freely.
Apart from all the above bathroom aids, you also have to ensure that there is ample lighting in the bathroom for your seniors to be able to see well. Additionally, clear all unwanted accessories from the bathroom and put all necessary products including medications, lotions and creams within easy reach for the seniors.