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Bathroom Safety Tips To Reduce Falls For Seniors

Updated: Apr 1

The Center for Disease Control reports that falls are the most frequent cause of injury among adults over 65. More than 14 million falls are recorded every year. Of those 14 million 80% occur in the bathroom. However, falls can be prevented. If you have the time and resources you can remodel the entire bathroom with a design specifically to meet accessibility needs. You can still prevent falls in an existing bathroom by changing and adding some basic safety aides and accessories. Finally, you need to have features in place to lessen the harm if a fall still occurs.

Bathroom with safety features to reduce falls

Design Features to Include in a Full Remodel for Safety and Accessibility:

  • No Step walk-in showers and tubs, Getting in and out of the tub or shower is one of the most frequent causes of falls.

  • Install a pedestal sink or a vanity with a toe kick to accommodate walkers. Lower the height of the sink to 34 inches with a 27-inch knee clearance which are ADA requirements for wheelchair users.

  • Lever handles instead of knobs on sinks faucets and showers. Levers are better for those who have less grip strength, arthritis. or have difficulty with turning and twisting motions

  • Have a doorway width of at least 36 inches

  • An open design that facilitates the greater turning radius of walkers and wheelchairs.

  • An outward opening door with a lever handle instead of a knob and no lock. A door that opens outward is easier to navigate with canes, walkers, and wheelchairs. Having an outward opening door with no lock will also allow access into the room for others in case a fall does occur.

  • Have a flat transition through the threshold. Having no threshold trim will prevent tripping as there is nothing to step over or for feet, canes, or walkers to get caught on.

Along with a full remodel you also want to incorporate the following safety equipment along with the design of your new bathroom which will reduce the risk of falls further.

Changes, Additions, and Modifications to Adapt Current Bathroom for Fall Prevention:

  • Grab bars for the shower, tub, and toilet to let you maintain your balance when moving around the bathroom. Grab bars should either have a rubber grip or be wrapped in grip tape to ensure a firm hold on the bar even when hands are wet.

  • Have non-slip mats inside showers and tubs.

  • Have a non-slip rug on the outside of the shower and tub to step on with wet feet.

  • Use a shower chair or install a shower seat.

  • Install a handheld showerhead.

  • A transfer bench can ease getting in and out of the shower and tub.

  • A raised toilet seat will ease getting up and down from the toilet.

  • Add a motion sensor light or a nightlight to avoid entering a dark bathroom.

  • Make sure the water heater temperature doesn't exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent burns.

  • Rearrange shelves, shower caddies, and medicine cabinets so that essentials are within easy reach.

Precautions to Take to Lessen Injury if a Fall Occurs:

  • Cover or round edges of vanities and other surfaces.

  • Cover shower and tub spigots,

  • Have a medical alert button in an easily reachable location, a fall detection device, or a voice-activated smart device to call EMS for help.

By utilizing some or all of these safety features you can reduce the risk of a fall inside your home and prolong your independence as you age in place.

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Thanks for sharing!

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