Bathroom Safety Tips to Prevent Falls in the Elderly

May 28, 2018
Janelle Thomas MSN, RN
feature image

Approximately 30 percent of the population of adults over the age of 64 throughout the United States will suffer from a fall each year. Most of these falls will occur in the bathroom. The bathroom is a particularly dangerous room in the home for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Water and condensation on the floor create a slip hazard.
  • Soap, shampoo, and other products on the floor and in the bath or shower create slick conditions.
  • Open floor plans with little to grip onto when walking.
  • The need to bend, reach, or lift the feet can cause a senior to lose balance and fall.
  • The need to go from a standing position to a sitting position and back to a standing position can be challenging for a senior who is coping with balance or mobility problems.

Fortunately, there are ways that you can reduce bathroom fall risk. This not only helps to encourage greater independence but also protects your senior from the potentially devastating injuries that can occur as a result of these falls.

4 Bathroom Safety Tips to Reduce Fall Risk

Some of the ways that you can reduce the risk that your parent will experience a fall in their bathroom include:

1. Replace the flooring

Most bathroom flooring is glossy tile or linoleum. While this material is attractive and easy to clean, it also becomes very slippery when wet. Help to reduce this slipperiness and create stronger footing by replacing the flooring with textured tiles that resist moisture.

2. Move toilet paper closer

If the bathroom tissue is kept too far from the toilet your parent will have to reach to get it. This can cause them to lose their balance and fall off the toilet. Move the holder closer or place the paper on the counter or the back of the toilet to make it more accessible.

3. Install grab bars

If your parent loses their balance or feels insecure when walking across the bathroom or climbing in or out of the tub, you do not want them to reach for the towel rod or shower curtain for security. These can give out and worsen the impact of the fall. Instead, install strong grab bars that can withstand the weight and the pressure of your aging parent.

4. Use slip-resistant shower mats

Falling in the shower can be particularly devastating for a senior. Your loved one may hit their head on the faucet or dislocate joints by hitting the walls on their way down. Reduce this by adding a slip-resistant shower mat or adhesive shapes on the bottom of the shower or tub. If your parent does not have these, add a towel to the bottom after the water is started and allow it to get soaked before having your parent step on it. The water will hold it in place and create a stronger grip for your parent to maintain their balance.

Related article: 20 Tips for Preventing Falls at Home

Contact Care Options for Kids for Home Care Services

Particularly when used in conjunction with the meaningful modifications that help to reduce bathroom fall risk, the services of an elderly care provider can be extremely beneficial to your aging loved one. This elder home care services provider can create a course of care and support specifically tailored to your senior’s needs so that they can enjoy as much autonomy and independence as possible while also staying safe, secure, and comfortable in their home.

If you or an aging loved one are considering home care services, contact the caring staff at Care Options for Kids. Call today at (888) 592-5855.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The New York Times