Bathroom Safety Benefits Seniors

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Bathroom Safety Benefits Seniors

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that an elderly American falls every second.

Comprising 55 percent of all unintentional injury deaths, falls are the leading cause of injury or death among Americans aged 65 and over. Despite this risk, the elderly rebuff losing their independence: senior citizens have a greater fear of moving into a nursing home than of death.

Greg Norman, founder of BathMasters, says there are several preventive measures that can be taken to preserve senior citizens’ independence while also ensuring their safety.

Annually, more than 2.8 million elderly adults are treated in emergency rooms for fall-related injuries. Of all falls occurring in the home, 80 percent happen in the bathroom, and one in five falls results in a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury.

These injuries often decrease the mobility of elderly adults and cause them to reduce their everyday activities, even diminishing their ability to live on their own. Meanwhile, nearly 90 percent of adults aged 65 and older indicate that they prefer to remain in their own homes for as long as possible, with four out of five believing they will always live in their current home.

From slippery surfaces to a lack of dependable objects to grab onto, bathrooms have a landscape that can be difficult to navigate, especially for the elderly. When coupled with poor muscle strength and the lack of balance associated with aging, the risk of falls in the bathroom increases. Bathroom falls generally happen when entering or exiting the tub or shower, sitting down on or rising from the toilet, and attempting to support one’s balance by grabbing onto towel bars, sink tops and other objects.

"A significant number of falls in the bathroom can be prevented with effective renovation techniques and products,” noted Norman. "There are numerous preventive measures to encourage safety in the bathroom for older adults, such as replacing a bathtub with an easily accessible walk-in shower, and installing attractive, sturdy safety bars for grabbing onto and maneuvering around the bathroom.”

The CDC states that falls for elderly adults are preventable with screening and effective strategies, including checking the home for safety. They suggest getting rid of hazards and keeping floors free of clutter, as well as taping down or securing rugs, adding grab bars and ensuring that there’s plenty of light in the area.

"Keeping elderly family members safe with a higher quality of life by living at home is key for most families,” stated Norman. "Responsible bathroom renovations can give relatives peace of mind by significantly reducing the risk of falls, while allowing elderly adults to remain in their homes.”

Norman stressed that the most important part of implementing successful safety measures in the bathroom starts with hiring a contractor who has professional training and education, and is qualified to install such safety features. BathMasters is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and has taken special certification courses to ensure that Aging-in-Place guidelines are achieved for all of their bathroom remodels.

"We exceed expectations with our fine craftsmanship and the best products available for bathroom renovations, which allow aging adults to have a higher quality of living,” he said.