Bathrooms Can Be Particularly Dangerous for Seniors

Julia Little  |  July 18, 2011

As a person ages, it may be necessary to make changes to their home or lifestyle in order to avoid injury. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) finds that the bathroom may be a room in the house that presents some of the greatest dangers to seniors.

The health organization looked at data from a sample of emergency departments in 2008 and came to the conclusion that approximately 234,094 of the 21.8 million nonfatal, unintentional injuries that took place that year happened in the bathroom.

The tub area and toilet space seemed to be the most dangerous, accounting for a large percentage of the injuries. Around 37.4 percent of injuries took place while bathing, showering or exiting the tub or shower.

The report also found that older adults were much more likely to injure themselves getting on or off the toilet in comparison to younger adults.

Many experts suggest installing a grab rail in a shower or just outside the tub to make sure that older adults have more stability and leverage when in the bathroom. It's also wise to take that old, ragged bath mat and throw it out. Replace it with a new one that has a non-slip surface to prevent it from sliding out from underneath your loved one's feet.

Those who are trying to modify their own home for safety purposes may want to consider renovating a shower by installing a bench to provide a place to sit while showering. Pair this with a hand-held showerhead that allows for easy use while seated. For the final touch, make sure there is low and nearby shelving to store shampoo, soap and other toiletries.

Creating an age-friendly residence for an older adult can be an expensive undertaking, but the peace of mind and safety for your loved one is well worth it.

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