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Bathroom Safety for Elderly Seniors – 19 Tips To Know

bathroom safety for elderly

Bathrooms are a necessity for young and old alike. Unfortunately, they aren’t always safe.

The statistics on bathroom safety for elderly seniors isn’t pretty.

The National Institute on Aging has declared that more than one-third of senior citizens over 65 years of age fall in any given year. Over 80% of the falls take place in the bathroom. The study also revealed that the more seniors age, the more at risk they are to have a bathroom accident.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently reported that over 200,000 Americans go to the emergency room each year for injuries encountered in the bathroom.

Common Causes of Bathroom Accidents

Slips and falls are the dominating accidents that seniors encounter. Many mishaps take place while in the bathtub or shower, Slippery mats and other slippery surfaces in and around the bathtub and shower area account for many falls. The lack of adequate senior safety accessories in the bathroom contributes to the lack of safety in bath and shower for elderly adults too.

In addition to poor safety measures for aging seniors, medical factors such as having mobility reduction, loss of muscle coordination, and waning eyesight are culprits for bathroom accidents. Decreasing strength and poor health coupled with slippery conditions in bathtubs and shower areas are a breeding ground for injuries.

Bathroom Safety Tips for Seniors

Bathroom safety for seniors is a subject that should be addressed by family or a caretaker when an aging person is still independent enough to use the toilet, bath, or shower on their own. Prevention of such events is a must. Below you will find excellent bathroom tips and suggestions for senior safety:

  • Install an emergency system in the bathroom near the shower and/or bathtub that will contact help in the event of a fall.
  • Subscribe to a senior alert management system.
  • Consider a special seat or shower chair for seniors who suffer from weak muscles when standing.
  • Slip mats should be placed in the shower and bathtub to prevent falls.
  • A raised toilet seat makes getting up and down easier.
  • Towel bars should be reinforced to the wall in case it is ever grabbed during a fall.
  • A bathtub with a high ledge is hazardous for seniors so a shower is a better option.
  • Toiletries should be in easy reach at all times.
  • Raised shower ledges can pose a hazard so be sure to bring awareness to that fact.
  • Rugs on the floor that don’t lay flat can be a risk for a fall or tripping injury.
  • Toilets should be kept clean and dry and the area around them should be free of clutter.
  • Be sure to have good lighting in the bathroom and the shower and bathtub area as well.
  • Check out all the tub or shower safety accessories and products that are available.
  • Consider installing a transfer bench to provide easy dressing, undressing, and drying off.
  • Be sure to install grab bars near the toilet and in tubs and showers.
  • Never lock the bathroom door. An “occupied” sign can be hung on the door for privacy instead.
  • Hang the door so that it swings out, allowing a caregiver or emergency personnel to get in if there is an emergency.
  • Search online to find support assistance articles to read concerning senior safety in the bathroom.
  • If you are a caregiver to dementia or Alzheimer patient, you can find a myriad of information online for special care instructions and suggestions.

Shower Safety for Elderly Adults

Many older people prefer to take a shower. Doing so requires one to stand, however, which can be a problem for those who are feeble or have medical issues. A firmly intact shower chair is a great option. A well-secured grab bar is imperative for safety.

Bath Safety for Elderly Adults

Taking a bath is a source of relaxation for many aging adults because they relieve aches and pains. They can be therapeutic as well. They are also a dangerous source of slips and falls so safety measures must be in place to prevent injuries. Anti-slip mats and grab bars are required but can pose hazards of their own. Anti-skid mats must be laid flat and suctioned to the tub and grab bars must be sturdy and safely secured to the wall.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some great questions that raise awareness concerning general bathroom safety concerning aging adults:

How can I make my bathroom safe for seniors?

Most of the issues encountered by aging people are caused by falling due to lack of balance, slipping, and tripping. You can learn to prevent such accidents and injuries by making the floor, shower, and bathtub less hazardous. Placing slip-resistant mats in the bathtub and shower is one of the most effective measures you can take. Non-slip adult bath and shower seats are helpful as well.

Are bath mats safe?

While bath mats can pose tripping hazards, they can also prevent slips. If you choose to use one, be sure it is made of good quality materials and that suctions to the surface of the tub flatly and securely. Of course, the contact surface should be slip-free too. You will also want to be certain it is clear of mold and mildew or a whole host of problems can be introduced otherwise.

How do I keep from slipping in my tub?

A mat that prevents slips is an excellent measure to take. Bath and shower chairs are great as well.

Where should grab bars be placed in a bathroom?

Grab bars can be positioned in full view by the toilet, shower, bathtub, and the sink so they can be easily accessed in the event of an emergency.

Which is safer, a shower or a bath?

While many feel safer in a bathtub because they don’t have to stand for an extended time, the ledge of a tub can be difficult when getting in and out. A shower can pose a threat due to having to stand but when a shower chair is used, it is generally the safest way to go. A walk-in tub is an ultimate solution but purchasing and installing one can be quite costly.

Conclusion

Bathroom safety for seniors is one of the most serious subjects that need to be addressed in aging adults. Taking time to implement safety options for seniors is a must.

With the tips above and the resources of advice from senior services, you can reduce the risk of bathroom accidents and help ensure you or your loved one has the best chance for a healthy life in the golden years.

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Senior Tips: Walker Safety for Elderly People

Mobility walkers are popular among seniors because they allow them to retain their independence longer by providing stability and support to their gait.

It’s important to keep in mind walker safety for elderly people.

Oftentimes medical problems complicate a senior’s ability to walk properly. Strokes, amputations, surgeries, and other health conditions caused by aging can leave them too frail, fragile, and weak to walk safely on their own.  

The benefits for seniors using walking aids, like walkers, greatly add to their quality of living in a myriad of other ways as well. Getting daily exercise by moving around in a walker is much healthier than sitting in a chair all the time.

Plus, being able to continue doing things they love, such as taking strolls or going shopping, promotes mental health and well-being.  

Whether you are a senior using a walker or are a caregiver for someone who is, it’s important to make sure safety is always a priority. Walkers are an aid for balance and strength for the aging but they are not foolproof.

According to an article updated in 2019 on the Very Well Health website entitled “Seniors Tied to Canes and Walkers” by Carol Eustice, over 47,000 seniors in the United States alone visit a hospital emergency room every year for injuries sustained due to a fall.

Of those, 129 of the falls reported daily are directly related to the use of canes and walkers. A shocking 87% of the seniors’ injuries treated in emergency room were attributed to the use of a walker in particular. Roller type wheel walker-related injuries held the record of being the highest of all. The statistics also showed that elderly women fall more than men.  

Seeking safety solutions can make the use of a walker much less risky so you can enjoy the benefits of the freedom of mobility.  

Disclaimer: We’re not medical professionals and are not giving medical advice. Please check with your doctor or medical professional before using any mobility devices.

Here are some walker safety tips and steps to take to help seniors prevent falls and other injuries from walkers:

1. Types Of Walkers

There are many types of walkers. Choosing one that is the best fit for your personal needs is the first step. You may opt for a folding walker or prefer a wheeled walker (also called a rollator).

You may even want a walker, traditional or roller, with extra equipment options and innovative features which provide safety and convenience for seniors such as a built-in seat, extra secure brakes, or a basket on the front of the walker for toting water, medication products, and even a snack.

Your physical therapist, doctor or family members can offer advice on features that may benefit you. They can also help you find the kind of walker that is optimal for your medical situation which also accommodates your likes and dislikes.  

2. Position

For the sake of safety, you’ll want to also be sure that your walker is adjusted so that it is situated to the correct height to ensure your hips are aligned evenly with the handgrip.

You should be able to guide the walker with comfort and ease. Accessing the brakes should be simple as well. Positioning a wheel walker which has two or four wheels is the same as with a traditional type.

Do be sure you don’t have to slump down or reach up to the handles or you are likely to encounter aches and pains from the strain and will be at a higher risk for falling.  

3. Operation

The person in charge of your senior caregiving or your health assistant will help you learn to walk with your device. If you have used walking aids before, you should have no problem catching on.

To get started, stand with your walker directly before you until you are confident and ready to begin. Then hold on to the handles while you gently push the device a short distance in front of you.

Bear your weight on your arm as much as possible and then slowly step toward the walker with your weaker leg and foot. Make sure you are always paying close attention to walker safety for the prevention of falls. Get your footing and repeat the technique above using your stronger leg and foot.

When using a wheeled walker for mobility, the same tips apply- stand until you feel stable, then take small steps using the pattern above.  

4. More Tips On How To Use A Walker

Additional tips for safely operating walkers include making sure the area is clear of clutter and debris, checking for obstacles like loose rugs, and being aware of any vehicle traffic or people who may dart onto the pathway without warning.

Always wear safety shoes with flat rubber soles. Never wear anything on your feet that may put you at risk for a fall such as slippery socks or shoes, shoes with shoelaces that can come untied, unsecured house shoes, flip-flops, or sandals.  

5. Financing

 Many resources and benefits services are available for seniors which help aid in the financing of a walker. Some insurance policies for seniors may even cover the entire cost of a standard folding walker or wheeled walker. Additional safety features may also be included.

If your loved one is an Alzheimer patient or has a specific medical condition or multiple conditions, be sure to contact a charity or foundation for the particular ailment as they may be eligible to receive assistance for walking aid devices.  

With the safety tips above, the benefits of using a walker are immense. Growing older is a wonderful privilege not everyone is given. Those who are fortunate enough to live a long life deserve all the best there is. Walkers are fabulous mobility devices for the elderly because they provide two treasured gifts – mobility and independence. When operated safely and efficiently, the use of a walker is priceless.

How To Use A Walker: Safe & Easy Steps

Over six million Americans use mobility devices, like walkers. If the time has come that you need the assistance of a walker to get around, you’ll want to be sure you know how to use it properly. You may find you have some questions as well.

There are probably concerns you’ll encounter that you’ve never thought about – like how you can operate a walker on stairs or how to handle using one when you have an additional handicap. Here are some safety suggestions and terrific all-around tips that will have you navigating your walker like a pro in no time.

Disclaimer: We are not doctors and are not providing medical advice. Please check with your medical professional to confirm proper usage of your mobility device.

How to Use a Walker Properly 

Using a basic walker (the kind without wheels) may feel a bit awkward at first. Don’t worry though, you’ll get the hang of it with these terrific tips.

How Do You Walk With a Walker?

To walk with your walker, you will first want to gently push the walker slightly ahead of your body. Then take one step into the walker using your weaker leg. Next, repeat using your stronger leg.

Continue the pattern until you reach your destination. Don’t push the walker too far in front of you or you may be forced to take too large of a step which could be dangerous.

Take care to practice good posture. Keep your eyes on where you are walking instead of looking down at your feet or the floor.

What is the Proper Height for a Walker?

Your walker must be safely aligned and proportional to your body. To ensure you get the right fit, there are several walker sizes to choose from like junior, standard adult, and tall.

The height should be so that the joints of your hips and the handles of the walker are even. To find this point, stand behind your walker with your feet lined up to the rear wheels and your arms to your sides. Slightly bend your elbow and relax your wrist on each side to a natural and comfortable position.

Grab onto the handles and see if they are even with your hips. You certainly don’t want to slump due to it being too low or have to stretch because it’s too high. Most handle heights can be adjusted fairly easily so be sure to keep trying until you it feels just right.

Can You Put Wheels on a Walker?

Wheels can be added to your standard walker to convert it into a rolling walker. Doing so will increase your device’s capacity of speed and will help you smoothly navigate over irregular ground surface conditions. Wheeled walkers are quieter as well.

There is a myriad of sizes and types of wheel products to choose from. You can add two wheels or four. For two wheeled walkers, the two wheels go onto the front of the walker and two gliders can be attached to the bottom of the back legs to replace the traditional rubber tips, allowing it to slide across surfaces. with ease. Gliders don’t scratch floors as rubber tips do either.

Attaching wheels to your walker is a simple task a family member, friend, or patient services staff member may help with. Be sure to contact a doctor or physical therapist to find out if you are healthy enough for a rolling walker.

How to Use a Rolling Walker Properly

The method you’ll use with a rolling walker is much like the regular walker. The first step is to make sure you are balanced. Then, push gently so you roll your walker about one arm’s length ahead of you.

Check to be sure the wheels and/or tips of your device are touching the ground. Take the first step with your weaker leg which is opposite of walking with the standard walker.

Follow by stepping with your stronger leg. Repeat slowly and steadily until you reach your destination, always beginning with your weaker leg.

How to Use Walker on Stairs

Ideally, if you are dependent on a walker for stability and mobility, you would never need to go up or down stairs or steps but unfortunately, that is usually not the case. So, exactly how do you go up and down stairs with a walker without the risking your health and well-being?

To start, you’ll position your device sideways with the crossbar next to your body. Place the two front legs on the step above or below you, depending upon if you are going up or down the stairs.

Hold the handrail with one hand and the handle with the other while supporting your weight in an even manner between the two.

Step up or down with your strongest leg, while bending your knee, bring your weaker leg up beside it. Move on to the next stair or step and repeat.

Stairs are taxing on the health of your heart and lungs as well as on your legs so don’t compromise your health by pushing your limits. Before you attempt walking up or down stairs, make sure each step is clear of obstacles.

You also want to be sure you are feeling steady enough to go all the way up or down and that your health allows for doing so. If you give out midway, you can sit on a step as you would a chair. If you still feel unsteady, you can scoot up or down the stairs. Never sit on the chair or a chair equipped walker while on stairs, however, because it is likely to tip over.

How to Use a Walker with One Leg

If you just have one leg or can only use one leg, there are a few changes you can make to safely with a single leg.

It is vital for your health and safety that your walker is at the correct height for you. Once you are certain that it is a good fit, position your device to where your toes are centered on the ground space below the walker when you stand.

Push or roll the device a step ahead, then lean onto it, bending your knee and bearing your weight on your arms which should remain straight. Step forward with your foot but do not hop. Repeat the pattern until you reach your destination.

Helpful Hints

Here are some trusty tips to follow when using your walker:

  • Never wear shoes with laces, flip-flops, or slippery socks.
  • If your legs or knees become weak, be sure to call for help.
  • You’ll be able to purchase a wide variety of accessories for your walker from a medical clinic or online such as a basket, cushioned grip handles, etc.
  • You should not attempt a walker if you feel any pain when doing so or are not in good enough health.
  • Always begin by collecting your balance while you stand behind your walker. Never let anyone pressure you to begin walking until you are ready to take that first step.
  • If you purchase a walker with a seat or chair, be sure you get the right size that so the chair will properly support your weight without caving or tipping the device.
  • Never operate a walker when under the influence of heavy medicine or when you feel you are jeopardizing your health.
  • Be sure your walker is customized for your personal needs, meets the requirements of activities you are involved in, and is appropriate to your height and weight.
  • If you find you tire easily or become exhausted when you stand up for too long at a time, you may want to use a walker that is equipped with a seat. You can sit comfortably in the attached chair while you catch your breath.
  • Be very conscious about hazards along your route such as when you are approaching a curb, steps, people, or traffic.
  • Those who also use canes should be conscious when switching back and forth as the walking techniques are different.
  • A physical therapist, health care professional, or a doctor can help you overcome many health obstacles that cause discomfort and pain which you may encounter.
  • You’ll find a myriad of additional tips by doing a search online or speaking to others who have experience with walkers.
  • In the event you find it difficult to grip the walker with your hand, you may want to try a platform walker which allows you to relieve the stress off your hands and lets you rest your forearm and elbows.
  • If a walker is too difficult, don’t put yourself in danger. You may require wheelchair support instead.

Mobile devices are a godsend for those who have trouble getting around after an injury, stroke, or surgery or for those who are aging or have difficulty maintaining balance. When you use one, you don’t have to give up your quality of living or your independence. These valuable tips about walkers will help you get off to a great start so you can successfully and safely enjoy getting around for as long as possible.

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