Australians are growing old and an ageing population is more prone to certain accidents. In Brisbane, bathroom slips and falls are the leading cause of accidental deaths and injuries among the elderly. While the statistic can be alarming, certain practices and a few makeovers in your bathrooms can make them considerably safer.
When you reach a certain age, bathroom trips become more frequent and night trips are almost inevitable. Leave the lights lit on corridors going to the bathroom and have the light switch outside the bathroom door. Fumbling for a switch inside a dark bathroom can be problematic as the lack of light can create a sense of vertigo and make you lose your balance. Automatic light switches with motion detectors are a good option. However, the sudden brightness can be a bit disconcerting.
Mind the Floors
With hard surfaces and sharp corners, losing your balance in the bathroom can be dangerous. Remove any mats or rugs that can potentially slip from under you or get entangled with your cane, walker, or wheelchair. Non-slip flooring is a good option. Just make sure to keep your floor dry. It would be best if your bathroom is level to the corridor or room since sudden changes in elevation (no matter how small) can cause you to trip or lose your balance.
Install Grab Bars
Strategically placed handholds can make your bathroom trips easier and safer. Grab bars enable you to lighten the load on your knees, making it easier to move around. Grab bars around the toilet provide extra security allowing you to sit down or stand up with relative ease. Changing positions can make you lose your balance and can be stressful on the knees. Having something to hold on to minimizes your chance of falling and gives you more time to balance yourself.
Opt for a Walk-in Bath
Soap and water under your feet can be a recipe for disaster. Getting in and out of a tub is even more dangerous — if even possible. A safer option is a walk-in tub. Walk-in tubs allow you to stay in a secure and comfortable position as you take your bath. You’ll be in a sitting position with your feet on the floor, eliminating any chance of slipping during your bath. Several walk-in bath models even have hydrotherapy functions that can give you a massage while you soak in the water.
Wear a Personal Alarm
A personal alarm or a life alarm allows you to call for help with a press of a button. Some of these devices come equipped with fall detection, alerting emergency services automatically once it detects you’ve suffered a fall. Personal alarms are wearable and somewhat waterproof (you can take them in the shower but not to soak in baths). You can also use personal alarms on other emergencies including fires or burglaries.
The bathroom doesn’t have to be a dangerous place. Spend a few dollars making your bathroom safer and save on the money you would have paid on hospital bills or worse.