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Bathroom Safety & Fall Prevention

Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in the home for elderly adults. They are full of hard surfaces, sharp corners, and slick floors, making them unforgiving spaces for falls. One in four adults, aged 65 or older, experience a fall annually, and up to 80% of these falls occur in the bathroom. Resulting injuries can range from minor cuts and bruises to fractures and broken bones, even accidental deaths.

It doesn’t take much for a devastating fall to occur in the bathroom. Issues with dizziness, balance, muscle weakness, changes in blood pressure, and more, make bathroom activities difficult and dangerous. It’s important to ensure bathrooms are equipped with safety aids to prevent bathroom falls and help your loved ones preserve their independence.

 

Bathroom Safety Aids

Bathroom aids can make day-to-day activities safer and give your loved ones a sense of independence and empowerment. Though individuals may require specific aids to meet their needs, consider the following items for added safety and fall prevention:

Grab Bars – Majority of bathroom falls occur when getting in or out of a bathtub/shower. Grab bars are an economical way to provide stable support when moving in and around the bath area. They also provide a secure place to grab in the event of a fall. Grab bars can be installed near the toilet for added leverage and balance.

Shower Chairs & Transfer Benches – Shower chairs and transfer benches provide stability for seniors who struggle with balance or standing. Both aids allow an individual to stay seated while bathing to avoid slipping. Transfer benches ease the transition into a shower area and are ideal for individuals who struggle with balance, strength, or lifting their legs over the side of a tub.

Bath Lifts – Bath lifts are a great way for seniors and people with limited mobility to safely enjoy a bath. They slowly lower an individual into the bath, making getting in and out of the bath more effortless and secure. Bath lifts are controlled with a handheld remote giving the individual more independence to bathe on their own.

Raised Toilet Seats – Raised toilet seats and safety frames reduce the amount of distance and effort needed to sit and stand when using the toilet. Safety frames provide a guide and extra support for lowering and raising one’s body. Both are especially useful for anyone struggling with knee pain, hip pain, joint pain, etc,.

Handheld Shower Heads – Handheld shower heads are convenient aids to allow individuals more independence to effectively cleanse their bodies, even while remaining seated. Handheld shower heads feature long hoses to better reach all areas of the body and provide more control over the direction of the water. Some feature an on/off switch to make it easier to turn on and off than having to reach, and risk falling, for wall mounted controls.

 

See more bathroom and shower safety aids here

Conclusion

A few simple changes can transform a bathroom from a dangerous space into a safe space. The need for a bathroom aid can be hard to admit and can leave some people feeling embarrassed. It’s important to talk with your loved ones and remind them that the use of a bathroom aid is meant to keep them safe, help them feel confident using the bathroom, and retain their independence.

Helpful Ways to Safely Walk Outdoors

Walking is the most popular form of exercise in the U.S. and is a great low-impact, aerobic activity, especially for elderly adults. Experts recommend adults aged 65 and older spend at least 150 minutes a week engaged in moderate aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, to enhance well-being. There are many benefits of walking such as improving heart health, lowering blood sugar, boosting mood, supporting joints, and even lowering the risk of dementia.

Walking not only improves overall health but also helps seniors preserve their physical and cognitive independence!

 

Safety First

It’s important to take precautions to keep yourself and your loved ones safe while walking outside to avoid falls and injuries, especially in the winter months. Consider the following for your next walk:

  • Be Prepared – Bring your ID, emergency contact information, and cellphone with you while walking in case of an emergency. Always let someone know when you are leaving and when you plan to return.
  • Be Aware – Know the route you plan to take and use paths and sidewalks whenever possible. Be aware of uneven surfaces, ice patches, curbs, and any other obstacles or tripping hazards.
  • Proper Attire – Dress in layers so you can add or remove clothing if you become too cold or too hot. Be sure to wear comfortable, well fit shoes with good arch support and nonslip soles for added traction and support.
  • Slow & Steady – Take your time walking. Go at a pace that feels natural to you and take the time to stop and rest when needed. Be especially cautious of walking too fast during icy weather.
  • Use a Mobility Aid – Mobility aids can help reduce the risk of falling, improve balance, and increase stability, allowing you to walk in more areas and in different terrains.

 

Mobility Aids for Added Confidence

Don’t let the need for a mobility aid keep you or your loved ones from going on a walk. Mobility aids provide support, improve safety, and extend independence. There is a wide range of aids available to best fit your individual needs so you can feel more confident taking walks:

Canes

Canes are helpful for people who have minor balancing issues or have one side that is slightly weaker. Single-tip canes only lend extra support to one side of your body and do not provide full body support. Quad-tip canes provide extra stability and support and may be better suited for rougher terrain than single-tip canes. Glow-in-the dark cane tips are available for enhanced safety in low-light conditions.

Walkers

Walkers are useful aids for people needing a little help with balance and mobility but still have good upper and lower body strength. They are also useful for traversing flat surfaces that are too rough for wheels, such as grass or cobblestone pathways.

Rollators are similar to walkers but they have four wheels and don’t need to be lifted to maneuver. Rollators allow users to walk at a quick pace, feature brakes, and have a built-in seat to allow for rests. They are suitable for flat surfaces like tile or pavement.

Wheelchairs

If you or your loved one is unable to walk or requires a wheelchair for different reasons, it’s still important to get outside. Being outside exposes you to vitamin D, which 75% of adults lack. Fresh air can also help boost the immune system, increase energy levels, strengthen lung function, and even lower blood pressure and heart rate.

 

Homecare Hospital Beds offers an array of affordable mobility aids.

Shop the full product line here.

 

Final Thoughts

Walking can be a great way to get active, change up your routine, and get some fresh air. Whether walking alone, with a friend, or in a group, always be cautious, alert, and use your mobility aid for added safety and confidence. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before introducing walking into your daily routine.

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Elderly Visitors over the Holidays

The holiday season is quickly approaching which often means a time to gather with elderly parents, friends, or relatives. The holidays are a chance to celebrate and make memories together, but sometimes during the excitement, senior safety and comfort are overlooked. Whether you have short-term or long-term guests, there are a few adjustments you can make to create a relaxing and safe environment for visitors of varying mobility and comfort levels.

Bathroom Safety

Bathrooms are one of the most dangerous rooms in the home for senior citizens. Keep your guests safe from slippery falls using these items:

      • Ensure grab bars are next to the toilet and in bathing areas
      • Place a raised toilet seat in guest’s bathroom or a commode or bedpan in the bedroom for guests with mobility challenges
      • Use shower mats to prevent shower falls
      • Utilize shower benches and stools for visitors with mobility challenges

Find more bathroom safety items here

Clear Paths

For some, the holiday season means snow and ice. Both of which pose challenges and dangers for anyone, especially for elderly visitors. Be sure to always keep walkways clear, easy to see, and free of any debris, snow, and ice to prevent dangerous falls. If you have stairs leading to your front door, be sure to install handrails on each side. Consider adding a ramp to your door for added safety.

Declutter

One of the quickest and easiest ways to prepare your home for elderly visitors is by decluttering it. Doing so not only allows guests with mobility challenges to maneuver easier throughout your home but also helps to eliminate tripping hazards. A fall does not have to be extreme for it to be detrimental for your elderly visitors.

      • Rearrange furniture to create clear walkways
      • Make sure books, toys, clothes, etc., are picked up and put away
      • Remove or enforce rugs with non-slip material
      • Get rid of any loose cords
      • Encourage visitors to wear non-slip shoes or socks

Sleep Soundly

Give your guests a comfortable and safe sleeping environment so everyone can be well rested for more holiday fun.

Light the Way

The American Family Physician claims 1 in 3 people, “has some form of vision-reducing eye disease by the age of 65,” such as glaucoma and cataracts, so proper lighting is crucial for your elderly visitors.

      • Add more light to dim areas such as entryways, hallways, and staircases
      • Replace soft light bulbs with cooler and higher wattage bulbs
      • Place a night light in your guest’s bedroom and keep a light, or night light, on in the bathroom to prevent nighttime falls
      • You may want to add motion sensor lights for hallways and other dim areas for additional nighttime visibility

 

Final Thoughts

The holiday season is a time to celebrate and be around loved ones. Preparing your home for elderly visitors not only keeps them safe but also gives everyone peace of mind so you can focus on making memories together.