6 Ways On How To Prevent Falls In The Bathroom For the Elderly and Handicapped People

Young and healthy bodies recover at a good pace when they fall, and before you know it their bodies recover and are back to normal. The same doesn’t go for the elderly or the handicapped. As they have less flexibility, falling or tripping can be quite life threatening. Bones can be fractured easily, and can cause internal bleeding for serious cases. Due to this, it is important follow these tips to prevent falls in the bathroom for the elderly and handicapped people.

It only takes a wrong fall to get a serious injury to a previous healthy person. It would have a great impact physically, emotionally and even socially. Here are some of the conditions that might result from falls:

Conditions Caused by Falls

  • A fall can cause bone fractures on the hips, joints, and limbs, thus impair physical activities
  • Head injuries that can lead to hemorrhage
  • Internal injuries that can lead to hospitalization

What causes elderly or handicapped people to fall? Here we show you some reasons the elderly or the handicapped people have an increase in the risk of falling.

Risk Factors of Falls

Environmental Factors:

Slippery floor like polished or wet marble

Slippery rugs and floor decorative

Poor lighting in the house including in the bedrooms and bathrooms

Soap and water on the bathroom floor

Sensory Problems:

Dulled senses

Muscle weakness and fatigue

Poor eyesight

Poor balance and reflexes

Medical conditions and illness:

Vertigo or any balance disorder

Postural Hypotension

Confusion and cognitive impairment

Osteoporosis

Arthritis

Stroke

Epilepsy

Ways to Prevent Falls in the Bathroom

According to Journal of Injury and Violence Resources, the bathroom (35.7%) is the most common location for fall injuries in the home. It is reported that 95% of hip fractures are caused by falling, and the usual cause is by falling sideways.

The list below are some bathroom safety tips and tricks to avoid getting your loved ones injured.

1. Having grab bars installed in your bathroom:

This is the best remedy one can adopt to avoid falls in the bathroom. Installing grab bars in suitable places will allow diverse support for the elderly or handicapped people to move about in the bathroom.

These bathroom grab bars are also potential lifesavers if someone is about to fall suddenly and they can grab on to support themselves. People should also avoid doing any sudden movements in the bathroom if they have slow or limited reflexes.

2. Add non-slippery floor mats:

The most obvious and common reason of falling in the bathroom is the slippery floor. The floor can be slippery due to the excess of water on the floor, improper cleaning and drying of the floor, slippery marble, soap on the floor and slippery floor mats.

It is recommended that mats in the bathroom should have rubber backings. Rubber backings produce friction if dragged across marble floors so it stops the additional slipping of the foot.

Weighted shower curtains are a big help to avoid water leaks on the floor. This is a shower safety for elderly to lessen the risk of slipping.

3. Make necessary items available within arm’s reach:

Sudden movements increase the risk of slipping in the bathroom so it is important that all the necessary items are placed within the reach of the person. Things like towels, clothes, shampoo, soap and other essentials should be put in a place where it is easily accessible. This is so that users don’t have to make big movements.

4. Using bath chairs and stools:

The use of bath chairs and stools are a very convenient way of reducing falling risks. First, bath chairs and stools would spare the energy of standing and walk around. Second, it would reduce the chances of slipping from moving around. Third, it would allow taking a bath for any length of time without the risk of getting tired or weak from standing. Using bathtub seats along with hand showers is the best way to avoid falling.

5. Removing unnecessary obstacles:

It is recommended that any unwanted object that can cause tripping be removed from the bathroom. It is easier to fall if you trip on something and also quite dangerous as well. Things like wipers, dustbins, and baskets should be removed.

6. Keep the bathroom well lit:

Especially for elderly people that mostly have poor eyesight, it is recommended to keep the bathroom well lit. A sensor light can be installed to avoid tripping over anything. Use cool white light to see things clearly.

These are the simple remedies you can adopt to protect the people around you from getting injured and prevent falls in the bathroom. Still, the bathroom is not the only place that needs to take notice of. Safety measures and preventions should be taken in all places whether it is indoor or outdoor. These preventions should cover the bedroom, kitchen, stairs, and backyard to prevent falls.

If in case an accident would happen, it would be a good idea to be prepared as well. Install a medical alert system or a communication device to be able to get help quickly. 

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3591732/

https://www.cdc.gov/homeandrecreationalsafety/falls/adultfalls.html

https://www.cdc.gov/steadi/patient.html

https://nihseniorhealth.gov/falls/ifyoufall/01.html

http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Falls/Pages/Introduction.aspx