Strategies to Prevent Falls in the Bathroom
Falls in the bathroom are, unfortunately, a very common cause of injury, especially among the elderly. It’s important that you make sure that if you are worried about your safety in the bathroom or the safety of a loved one, you take steps to reduce the risk of falls.
While many people automatically assume that the shower is the most dangerous place in the bathroom, there are other locations in the bathroom where safety needs to be addressed as well to reduce the chance of personal injury.
How Can You Prevent Falls in the Bathroom?
Use Non-Slip Surfaces
Everyone knows that water on the floor will make the surface incredibly slick and dangerous. Unfortunately, wet floors are very common in bathrooms, no matter how careful you are.
The first place to install non-slip decals is in the shower or the tub. These will help the person bathing keep their balance and will prevent a lot of falls and slips.
In addition to inside the shower or tub, consider putting non-slip decals on the bathroom floor. While many people think that rugs are a better option, they can, unfortunately, cause tripping and falling.
Non-slip decals are a much better choice, as a tile or laminate floor can be just as slippery and dangerous as the inside of the shower or tub when it has gotten wet.
Install Grab Bars
Grab bars are one of the best ways to reduce the risk of someone falling and being injured in the bathroom. While they are commonly installed in the shower, which is an important location for them, as they will greatly help reduce the likelihood of slipping and falling while bathing, they are useful in other locations in the bathroom as well.
Make sure that you consider installing grab bars next to the toilet. They are very helpful in assisting people who are getting on and off of the toilet. By putting grab bars in the shower or bath and next to the toilet, you will be able to greatly decrease the likelihood of an injury due to falling.
Make the Space More Accessible
Another great way to prevent falls in the bathroom is to improve the accessibility of the space. This doesn’t mean renovating the space, although that is an option if space is too tight and difficult to navigate. Rather, it means making sure that items that are commonly used are easy to reach.
When people stretch to reach shampoo, soap, or towels then they will get off balance. Unfortunately, being off balance on a slippery and wet surface is often a recipe for disaster and can result in people falling.
By making sure that necessary toiletries are well within reach, you can help to mitigate the chance of someone falling the bathroom while they try to reach for something that is out of reach.
Improve the Visibility
Many people don’t realize that the visibility in a bathroom plays a huge role in how safe or dangerous the room is. Because it can be very difficult to gauge distances in the dark and to see where you are going, it’s important that there are bright lights in the bathroom at all times.
Even if your bathroom gets great natural light during the day, you need to make sure that there is ample artificial light at night. If there isn’t enough light from the overhead fixture, then you will want to add in additional lighting, especially in the shower area.
This will make it easier for people to see where they are going, accurately judge distances and the safety of surfaces when moving, and make it less likely for them to trip.
Install a Zero-Entry Shower
One main cause of falls in the bathroom is when people try to step up and into the shower or tub in their bathroom. A combination of factors, including misjudging the distance of the stop, not lifting their foot high enough, or catching their foot on a washcloth draped over the edge can all contribute to falls.
With a zero-entry shower, however, users can simply walk into the shower due to the level entrance. Since there isn’t a step that they have to make to get into the shower there is a smaller chance of tripping and falling.
While this will generally involve a whole bathroom remodel, this is a great way to improve safety in the bathroom.
Use a Shower Chair or Bench
One great way to prevent falling during a shower is by using a shower bench or chair. A seat that is in the corner or on the side of the shower allows people who are showering to sit and rest. Placing the chair where a person can easily sit down when they feel weak, dizzy, or fatigued will help prevent injuries.
It’s a good idea to choose a shower chair or bench that has armrests, as this will allow users to push themselves back up into a standing position without assistance. If this isn’t possible, then installing grab bars near the chair is a good idea to prevent falls in the bathroom.
Installing a zero-entry shower is a great way to remove obstacles in your bathroom, but there are other ones to consider removing as well. Rugs on the floor are a definite trip hazard.
Make sure that you remove everything from the floor of the shower or tub. All shampoo, soap, conditioner, and any bath toys need to be stored off of the shower or tub floor. Because even small items can be a trip hazard, everyone in the home needs to agree to help keep the floor of the bathroom and the floor of the shower free of any extra items.
Bathroom falls can happen quickly and cause major injury. It’s important that you take steps to reduce the likelihood of falls occurring in your home.
These strategies are sure to help you create a much safer space in your bathroom for you and your loved ones. No matter which ones you implement, you can rest assured that you are making a safe bathroom and mitigating the risk of falls and serious injuries.