In the bathroom, some hazards that could lead to accidental falls are
1. Slippery floors
2. Moving around the shower area
3. Difficulty using the toilet
4. Poor lighting
Here are some ways to mitigate the above-mentioned hazards:
The door installed in the bathroom should have an outward motion compared to inward. Other alternative includes sliding doors. These doors not only provide ease when it comes to opening or closing but is also a safety measure when it comes to emergencies. Consideration should also be placed on the type of door handle. Push down handles and installation of door handle grips will provide more convenience and enhance safety.
Having non-slip flooring is vital for the safety of all ages. The options of having a non-slip floor include installation of non-slip floor tiling and glazing non-slip glue on the flooring. Other convenient alternatives are securing non-slip mats with double-sided tape and sticking non-slip adhesives. These adhesives can also be pasted on the shower area and bathtubs.
To provide more comfort when showering, a shower chair can be considered. For those who prefer compact items, a foldable and light shower chair is a good option. Some shower chairs are not only sturdy but can also be drilled onto the wall. Apart from shower chairs, a hand-held shower nozzle is also easier to use than the standard shower head. Other tips include tying a rope to the bar soap to ease usage.
The grab bars available now come in various sizes and is made of different materials. Installation method is usually either by suction caps or drilling. The need for grab bars had increased tremendously as it can be used for various locations in the bathroom. Grab bars will not only prevent falls but is also a source for support. Angled and foldable grab bars are usually placed next to the toilet as it helps the user balance when getting on and off the toilet. Grab bars can also compensate if the toilet height is a little lower. Straight and horizontal grab bars are suitable for users who require support when moving around. While innovative grab bars comes with a compartment for soap, bottles and even the toilet roll. Depending on the need and preference, there will always be an ideal grab bar for every bathroom.
Proper and adequate lighting will minimize the risk of falling to a large extend. This is because lighting will enable clearer vision and make an individual more aware of the surroundings. Lighting buttons should be installed at a proper height so that it is easier to reach. Motion sensor lighting is also a viable choice as it is automatic and fuss free.
By taking these simple steps to modify your existing bathroom, you can help to make it safer for your elderly family members, and take an active approach to preventing falls in the bathroom.
Changi General Hospital. (2012). Your Guide to Falls Prevention. Retrieved from Changi General Hospital: http://www.cgh.com.sg/nofalls/Documents/120728_No%20Falls%20Brochure_final.pdf
Lim, S. C. (2010). Elderly Fallers: What do we need to do. Retrieved from SingHealth Academy: http://www.singhealthacademy.edu.sg/Documents/Publications/Vol19No22010/10%20Elderly%20Fallers.pdf
Tideiksaar, R. (2012). Fall Proofing ideas for the bathroom. Retrieved from Care Diary Simplifying Life for the Caregiver: http://www.ecarediary.com/Blog631/Fall-Proofing-Ideas-for-the-Bathroom.aspx
Health Promotion Board. (2012). Falls Prevention Programme. Retrieved from Health Promotion Board: http://www.hpb.gov.sg/HOPPortal/programmes-article/HPB037402