Whether you’re having challenges with your physical capabilities due to illness, injury, or simply aging, making your bathroom safe should be a top priority. The bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the house, with risks of slips and falls higher than anywhere else. Taking steps to increase the safety in your bathroom can help reduce the chances of this happening to you or a loved one.
Shower and Tub Safety
Showers and tubs pose plenty of risk due to their wet, slippery surfaces. Traditional tub/ shower combos have a high edge, requiring you to balance and lift your leg high when entering and exiting the tub. When you’re wet, the chances of slipping increase.
Consider installing bathroom rails to help you with balance and support so that you can use the leverage when entering and exiting the tub. These bars can also help you sit down into the tub and stand up again. Transfer benches allow you to sit down on the bench and then scoot into the bathing area. These can help people who have a limited range of movement.
If you have decent balance and strength but simply need a little boost to get over the edge of the tub, then a slip-proof bath step is a good solution. This, combined with a bathroom rail, allows you to enter and exit the tub safely. Shower chairs and stools can help people who have a hard time standing for a long time and can be especially useful for people recovering from surgery. A chair is more stable and offers greater support, but stools are more versatile and fit in most showers and tubs.
A handheld shower head works quite well with shower stool use, allowing you to bathe and get all those hard-to-reach places comfortably. Bathing aids can also help you reach areas like your feet, underarms, or back, reducing the strain that twisting and reaching can put on your spine or pulling on surgery sites. Long-handled loofahs or sponges work well in these situations.
Toileting can also carry risks of bathroom injuries, and when people have decreased energy, strength, and coordination, it can be risky.
Transferring on and off the toilet is where people run the greatest chance of falling. Installing metal grab bars can help if you have difficulty lowering yourself onto the toilet or getting back up again. Combine these with a raised toilet seat so that you don’t have to bend down as far, reducing the joint range of motion and the overall strength you need.
The process of getting to the bathroom is also fraught with risk. If you have an immediate toileting need, you could risk falling in your haste. Being able to swiftly and safely get to the bathroom, especially if you’re living on your own or don’t have a full-time caretaker, reduces this risk.
Be sure to have a walking aid close by, such as a walker or cane. If you’re bed-bound, install a bed rail to help you up and down from the bed. You may also wish to have a toileting chair near your bed, especially if the bathroom is far away or up the stairs.
Bathroom needs can pose a risk if you’re ill or infirm, but the proper safety equipment and precautions can minimize this risk. View some of our daily living aids here!