One of the areas where falls are likely to occur is the bathroom. Wet tile or linoleum flooring after a bath or shower can lead to slip and fall injuries. Stepping over a tub wall proves challenging when you have arthritis affecting the ankles, hips, or knees.
The other issue in a bathroom is that space tends to be limited. In that smaller space, you have a stone or porcelain sink/counter, a hard toilet, and tile/stone walls and floors. If a fall happens, padded surfaces are unlikely. That increases the chance of an injury.
January is National Bath Safety Month. During this month, take time to look at these four issues that decrease safety in the bathroom.
What Type of Flooring is Installed?
Tile, concrete, and linoleum floors get slippery. Non-slip bath mats add traction, but they do need to be dried out to avoid the growth of mold or mildew. You could hire a flooring expert to replace the floors and put in non-slip vinyl planks instead.
Vinyl flooring comes in a variety of wood look-alike patterns and colors. When wet, the texture of these floors helps you keep traction.
Have You Installed Grab Bars?
Towel racks aren’t designed to withstand the weight of a body. If you’ve noticed your parents use them for support, consider switching to grab bars that double as towel holders. They usually have a grab bar section and a lower bar for towels.
Grab bars should be installed inside the tub or shower, on the wall outside where you exit, and behind and to the side of the toilet. Make sure they’re anchored to a stud. If you aren’t handy with home improvement projects, hire a contractor to install them for your parents.
Is Space Optimized?
Are items in the bathroom organized or is there clutter? A cluttered bathroom is not ideal as it’s easy to kick something set on the floor or sticking out in the area you walk in. If storage is minimal, add a cabinet that fits over the toilet for additional space. A hamper may need to sit outside of the bathroom door.
Is the Tub Wall Too High?
Stepping over a tub wall when arthritis is present or it’s hard to maintain balance increases the risk of a fall. Grab bars help. Swapping a tub for a walk-in shower is another idea if there are funds available. The other thought is to put in a walk-in tub that has a tightly sealed door that opens and closes to make it easy to get in and out of the tub.
Would Home Care Services Help?
If your parents have fallen in the bathroom, avoid further injuries by having caregivers from a local home care services agency stay with them while they bathe. Home care services experts will help you make arrangements.