As many seniors know all too well, bathrooms can pose significant risks to their health and safety. In fact, bathrooms are minefields of potential injuries for seniors, especially when it comes to falls. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention note that 20% of falls for adults over 65 cause serious injury. These injuries can be anything from a bone fracture to severe head trauma, but they are all dangerous. What’s more, once a senior falls, he or she is then twice as likely to fall again. Thus, one fall leads to others and elevated chances of serious injury. Fortunately, some companies are hard at work providing bathroom modifications that support safety for seniors.
How bathrooms threaten senior safety
Bathrooms pose a multitude of risks when it comes to senior safety. Slippery surfaces that get slipperier with steamy showers or baths, high water temperatures that startle, sharp corners and hard ceramic surfaces all mean that bathrooms are dangerous for the vulnerable. What is more, some of these bathroom features mean that a fall in this room poses a greater risk of serious injury. In addition, the taboo around helping someone with bathroom-related activities can prevent caregivers from being in the same room. This means that if a fall does occur and a loved one is knocked unconscious, it could be some time before a caregiver knows it.
Because of the above problems, seniors and their caregivers frequently search for ways to make bathrooms safer. Nonslip surfaces, latex-bottomed rugs, grip handles located strategically in showers or near toilets can all ensure seniors safety in the bathroom. Yet when it comes to actually bathing, many seniors find that modifying their bathtub or shower is the best way to stay safe. That is where companies like Clean Cut Bath come in.
Bathroom modifications that enhance senior safety
Using an existing bathtub, Clean Cut Bath installers can use a number of products to increase bathroom safety for seniors. For example, a “step-in” tub requires that the side of the tub be cut down low. This means that the step to get inside is a low one and less likely to cause tripping and falling. Seniors who have a hard time lifting their legs up high might find this to be ideal. For slightly more mobile seniors, a modification exists that cuts down the tub height and installs a door, allowing them to move in and out once the tub is empty. There are even “convertible” products which allow families to change out bathroom modifications at will through insertion or removal.
The procedure for such an installation is simple. Those desiring such modifications merely call or alert a company like Clean Cut Bath, which tries to streamline the process. Once phone contact is made, the potential buyer describes the existing bathtub and what is needed to address safety concerns. The installer gives an estimate on the cost of such an installation. Once the price is agreed upon, the installer makes an appointment to come to the home and install the product.
Installation time ranges from two to four hours, making the modified bathroom available for use that same day. In addition to the simplicity of use, design, and installation, the company boasts that costs are just one-fifth of other types of bathroom remodeling. This can make bathroom modifications for senior safety more likely for those on a budget.
Fostering independence while maintaining senior bathroom safety
Seniors with reduced mobility often rely on others to help them with daily activities. They may need help getting dressed or find it difficult to drive themselves. Especially for bathroom-related activities, this lack of independence can grate on seniors’ self-esteem. For this reason, caregivers do well to foster as much independence as is safe for seniors in their care. I
f bathroom modifications will allow an elderly loved one to bathe alone safely, it is an investment worth making. Seniors prize their privacy, dignity, and independence. Innovations that help them maintain these, along with safety, are of great value. Caregivers too may experience less anxiety, knowing that even while being self-sufficient in the bathroom, their beloved seniors are safe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Important Facts about Falls. CDC.gov. Available at http://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
Clean Cut Bath. Home. Available at CleanCutBath.com. Retrieved October 29, 2016.
Walker, Diane. (January 2, 2014). 6 Bathroom Safety Tips for the Elderly. GriswoldHomeCare.com. Available at http://www.griswoldhomecare.com/blog/bathroom-safety-tips-elderly/. Retrieved October 29, 2016.