Taking a bath or shower is something most of us do daily without a second thought. However, for an at-home aging person, bathing can be intimidating due to cognitive impairment, frailty, and poor balance. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), roughly 230,000 Americans over the age of 65 face injury in their bathrooms, and most of those accidents result from bathtub slips and falls experienced.
Elderly persons annually experience cuts, bruises, and even bone fractures from bathing-related falls requiring medical attention. Moreover, if you are currently looking after a senior at home, it can be troubling. On the positive side, there are several safety tips for seniors to make bathing safer for them.
Why is Bathing Dangerous for Seniors?
Most tub and shower areas are tight spaces with lots of hard surfaces and sharp corners. A senior’s blood pressure fluctuates when they exert themselves, which can cause dizziness and poor balance. A combination of those balance issues with wet floor tile and slippery porcelain tub surfaces results in accidental falls.
Seniors don’t have the strength that younger adults do, hence, they sometimes have trouble steadying their weight when they stumble. When you add in cognitive impairment from dementia or Alzheimer’s, you can easily confuse an elderly person within their bathroom. This can create a dangerous environment for them.
Making Bathing Safer for At-Home Seniors
To keep seniors safer when they are bathing and showering within their own homes, experts recommend using these bathroom precautions:
Install grab bars
Wall-mounted or floor-to-ceiling metal grab bars can be easily installed that provide secure support for seniors when they are getting into and out of a tub. Grab bars are also highly-recommended next to a senior’s toilet.
Ensure non-slip surfaces
Slippery surfaces and water make for a bad combination. Non-slip decals can be applied to any potentially-slick areas, like the floor of the tub or shower, along with the bathroom floor itself. Also remove throw rugs from the bathroom, as they tend to slide around and can get tripped over easily.
Place bathing items within reach
Reaching awkwardly for the soap, shampoo or other bathing items can be a slip hazard for seniors. To ensure that doesn’t happen, arrange your loved one’s bathing items within easy reach using hooks and shelves.
Over-exertion is another reason why seniors get injured while bathing every year. Elderly people tend to have less energy and can find themselves overdoing it simply getting in and out of the tub, or standing up in the shower for a few minutes. Installing a secure bathing seat is a good strategy to employ to reduce their likelihood of experiencing over-exertion.
One of the most formidable obstacles for seniors stepping in and out of their tub is the side, and doing so on wet surfaces makes it doubly challenging. To reduce those tripping risks, install a walk-in bathtub or shower and also clear the bathroom of other trip hazards.
In the end, employing these bathing safety precautions should provide a safer bathroom environment for your senior loved ones so that they can continue independently aging in place for many years to come. If you are worried about your senior’s bathing safety, then we would recommend you consider hiring a professional caregiver.
We Help At-Home Seniors Bathe Safely
Ensuring that your aging family member can safely bathe and shower can be challenging, especially when you’re busy managing your own household or simply live too far away. When you need help, the reliable caregivers at Senior1Care can step in and provide your loved ones with the safe bathing assistance they need, and restore your peace of mind. We carefully screen our highly-trained home care aids beforehand for your loved one’s security and, in addition to bathing, provide other expert services like meal preparation, laundry, light housekeeping, transportation, and companionship.
We deliver all our senior care services in a flexible, affordable, and seamless package that will put your mind at ease. To learn more about Senior1Care, and why we are quickly becoming the go-to senior home care choice for families in the Elkhart area, please call or contact us online today.