Elderly individuals and those that suffer with physical disability are usually at the greatest risk when it comes to accidents within the home. As people age, their physical ability begins to wane, and this can make them much more susceptible to the common hazards we all experience throughout our domestic spaces.
One of the most dangerous places within the home is the bathroom due to the excess moisture and slip hazards that take place with just about every visit. This article takes a look at the easiest and most effective ways of improving safety for the elderly within the home and, in particular, the bathroom.
Accidents at home
Simply taking the time to walk through an elderly individual's house and looking for areas where trips and falls are most likely can be a great first step when it comes to accident prevention. Rugs, where the edges have started to raise, and rising clutter in certain areas are often common culprits when it comes to household accidents.
Often, purchasing a new or refurbished stair lift, or installing mobility aids can improve an elderly individual's sense of safety around the house by providing them with a secure way to move around during times when they may be feeling a little weak, or unbalanced.
Foreseeing bathroom disasters
Countless bathroom related incidents occur each year, and studies have shown that more accidents are likely to occur within the bathroom than any other room. As seniors are especially at risk, it is essential that the homes of elderly residents be fitted with equipment that will improve their balance.
Although you may not be able to literally foresee when and how an accident within the bathroom is going to take place, you can take precautions that ensure the elderly individual you are caring for can look after himself or herself.
Part of growing old can involve increasing issues with vision, so make sure the home has sufficient light. Replace any light bulbs that are getting dimmer with higher wattage bulbs. Another good idea if the individual you are caring for often gets out bed during the night for a trip to the bathroom is to install a path of small night lights to direct them from one room to another. It can also be particularly useful to install these lights along the stairwell, perhaps even creating a lit DIY stair lift runway.
Reduce the risk of falling with grab bars and shower chairs
One factor that many people fail to recognise when they are looking for ways to improve safety within the bathroom is that towel racks and soap dishes are not properly designed to hold a person's weight.
Installing actual grab bars by the toilet, shower, and bathtub will provide elderly individuals with the stability they need to stay safely on their feet. If the individual in question is particularly prone to falling or periods of weakness, then it may be a good idea to invest in a shower chair and handheld showerhead to make washing a little easier too.
Shower chairs simply provide a safe, comfortable, and non-slip location for people to rest whilst they carefully wash themselves, reducing the risk of falling astronomically. Having a handheld showerhead means that the individual can direct the stream of water where they need it without having to move around within the shower itself.
Bath mats and slip-resistant stickers
Slip resistant bath and shower mats are a great way to ensure there are no accidental slips whilst climbing out of the bath or moving around in the shower. Often, these mats come in a variety of styles and colours to match your current decor, and the bottom will be fitted with sturdy suction cups to hold the mat in place. In addition, these particular mats will be made out of rubber or come in a sticker-like form to provide the best possible grip.
Similarly, if the bathroom floors are smooth, then installing some soft, non-skid bath mats by the shower and sink could improve bathroom safety. Not only will these mats make slipping less likely by providing a sturdy place for seniors to stand as they dry off, they also help to absorb excess water and splashes from the tub so that there are no dangerous puddles lurking around the bathroom.
Putting safety first
Ensuring the safety of an elderly resident should always be top priority, whether you are caring for a loved one, or providing assistance to an individual as part of your caring career. Even a slight slip in the wrong place can lead to serious suffering, and all throughout the world people aged sixty-five and older have been found to be particularly prone to sustaining severe and even fatal injuries as the result of an accidental slip or fall. Many unforeseen mishaps can result in hospitalisation as a result of damage caused to the hips, wrists, and even spinal cord. Luckily, new information and technological improvements have made the concept of staying safe at home a much simpler matter.