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Bathroom Falls And Injuries Among The Elderly

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Every single day, no matter whether we are five, fifty or eighty five, we use the bathroom. Whether it be washing, dressing, brushing teeth…these are the things that we do every day, probably at times with out even thinking.

The bathroom is often looked at as the smallest place in the house and by that rule alone, it is considered to be a low risk but is that the case? It appears not. Statistics tell us that the bathroom can be the most dangerous place in the whole house.

Assistive safety devices such as shower chairs can be extremely helpful in preventing falls. Read on to learn more about bathroom falls and how tips on how to avoid them.

where do most falls occur in the elderly

Bathroom Injury Statistics

The CDC has found that 235000 people over the age of fifteen visit the emergency room each year over bathroom injuries.
According to website caregiver.com 30% of people aged sixty five and over who were injured in bathrooms sustained a fracture. In addition to that, 38% aged eighty five and over needed hospitalisation as a result of the injury that they sustained.

Preventing Bathroom Falls

Preventing falls in the bathroom is about two things:

  1. Realising that you may need help and accepting that.
  2. Understanding the risks that are in your house.

Have a think. Have your family been saying…”you should have…you should get….you’re not walking as well” and other similar comments? If they have, that is a good sign that it is time to consider help. That help may be in the physical form of a person to help you or in the form of a piece of equipment.

Never brush off your family as worrying too much. Remember they are trying to help you prevent a fall, injury and a hospital stay.

To understand risks in your bathroom, the easiest way is to take someone with you and go to the bathroom. Having that second pair of eyes with you is incredibly vital as they will see things that you may not.

Take time and walk around the room as if you are going through the normal activities of your day. Stand at the sink. Stand by the shower. Stand at the toilet. Now stop.

Is anything in your way? Is there a rug on the floor? Is the floor wet? Does it dry easily? Is there a shower curtain getting in your way? Where are your towels in relation to the sink and bath? These are all things to think of that go a long way to preventing a fall. Changing these things minimize risk.

7 Bathroom Safety Tips For Seniors

There are many things that you can do to minimize risks of falling.

Grab Rails

Look at the area surrounding the shower and toilet. Do you have to hold onto the wall to stand up? If the answer is yes, then grab rails will be so beneficial. Holding a wall that is wet from a shower increases your risk of fall.

Raised Toilet Seat

Having a raised seat on its own will allow you to lower yourself down to a more suitable height as opposed to lowering down to an unsafe level. When considering which type of raised toilet set is best for you, the first question that you should ask is whether this is for a temporary condition such as post-surgery or if it is to address a more permanent need. If this is for a temporary condition you may consider a quick lock raised toilet seat. They run a little cheaper and will serve you well. A more permanent solution would be a bolt on raised toilet seat. Otherwise you should consider a locking elevated toilet seat or a locking raised toilet seat with arms if the issue is more medium-term in nature.

Raised Shower Seat

This will allow you to sit at a natural height that will allow you to utilize your shower without having to stand for the whole time you are in there.

Accessibility

If you cannot get in your bathroom safely, how can you use it safely? Look at your bathroom door and access route. If you have another bedroom where there is easier bathroom access is it worth considering changing rooms?

Obstacles

Remove any obstacles from your bathroom. If you have a laundry hamper in there, can it go anywhere else? Take rugs from the floor to reduce trip hazards.

Over Exertion

Are you going into the bathroom when you are most tired? Pick your best time to utilize a shower. If your safest time is 10pm at night and that works for you…use that time!

Equipment

There are many pieces of equipment out there on the market and it is well worth familiarizing yourself with what is there. In order to find out look at magazines and talk to your local health care professional to get put in touch with the appropriate therapist.

Bathroom Safety For Elderly People

The biggest thing about bathroom safety is accepting that you may need help in the first place. That is a tough thing to do. Everyone of us wants to be independent forever. However there are many simple things that you can do in order to help with your own safety.

  • Move soaps, shower gels and shampoos closer to where you need them.
  • Ensure that your towel is as close as possible to the bath tub or shower.
  • Install a night light in the bathroom.
  • Ensure that there is a phone or access to an emergency call in the bathroom. You may also want to consider purchasing a waterproof emergency communication device that can actually be worn even while showering.

Keep safe!

References

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