How could something that’s so comforting and soothing, like a nice, warm bath, be one of the biggest dangers to seniors? The truth is, combining slick surfaces, slippery shampoo and very warm water creates the perfect storm for a fall risk – one of the most severe risks to aging adults.
January is designated as National Bath Safety Month, and it’s a great time for both education and assessment to make sure that senior safety in the bathroom is a top priority.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that approximately 370 people of all ages suffer bathtub or shower-related accidents every single day in the United States. Because most falls in the house happen in the bathroom, AARP suggests taking the following precautions:
- Install grab bars for the toilet, shower, and bathtub
- Install slip-proof tile or use non-skid bath mats
- Adjust temperature of the home’s hot water heater to 120 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent scalds
- Provide a transfer bench so the senior can get in and out of the bathtub if susceptible to falling when stepping over the side of the tub
- Provide a shower chair to enable bathers to sit while bathing
- Apply no-slip strips to the tub and shower floor, or provide a slip-resistant mat
- Wipe up any water spills on the floor as soon as possible
It’s also a good idea to determine whether it may be worthwhile for a senior to make use of a mobile commode, which may be put at a bedside to relieve nighttime bathroom requirements. Bedside commodes can reduce the risk of evening falls, and can also be placed directly over the toilet, which is generally sturdier than a raised toilet seat. Features to check for when purchasing a commode:
- Non-removable armrests
- Rubber tips on the legs rather than wheels
- A frame that is sturdy
- Both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet)
Standard, basic commodes can cost anywhere between $60 and $250, although more complex, specialized commodes, such as those that have tilting mechanisms, can run as much as $3,000.
AARP also provides a handy bathroom checklist with design recommendations which will help seniors and their families make the best home modification decisions.
All Care can also help senior safety around bath time. We can provide an in-home safety evaluation and recommendations, and by offering expert, hands-on assistance at bath time, can help ensure that seniors remain safe throughout all of their bathroom needs – always delivered with the utmost respect and regard for dignity and privacy. Contact us at (541) 857-9195 to find out more about our wide range of in home senior care services.