Of all the household areas that we encounter during our daily routine, the bathroom is the area in which 80% of falls occur for the population of adults 65 years and older. Falls for the older adult commonly result in fractures of the musculoskeletal system, reduced functional independence, and often creates anxiety which reduces their frequency of showering/use of the bathroom. Luckily, all dangerous aspects of the bathroom can be modified in a way which promotes independence, maximizes mobility, and reduces the risk of falling. Here we will highlight some of the hazards within the bathroom. Oakley Home Access has effective solutions to address each problem area.
Bathrooms often have smooth tile surfaces and slick bathtub floors. Although they are easy to clean, they also are a frequent culprit of falls.
Low Toilet Seats
Toilets are many times as low as 14-15 inches which is exceedingly difficult to stand up from when you have reduced leg strength.
Dimly Lit Rooms
Many bathrooms do not have adequate lighting which is only reduced with the presence of steam from a hot shower.
Low Blood Pressure
Hot showers may feel great on a cold New England morning, but the negative effects on blood pressure can cause dizziness and loss of balance.
No Place to Rest
Many showers and bathrooms have no place to take a seat and rest at the vanity or in the shower. This can cause fatigue which leads to falls.
Placing your arms overhead to wash your hair, adjust the shower head, or reach for high shelving can create losses of balance leading to falls.
Glass Shower Doors
While they can be attractive, sliding or swinging glass shower doors are one of the most dangerous household items. We at Oakley Home Access are anti-glass doors. They reduce access for entering/exiting a shower, and allow less space for caregivers to assist their loved ones. Also, shower doors have handles that offer a false sense of security: They are tempting to utilize for stabilization during entering/exiting the tub or shower, which commonly leads to falls. Finally, glass can be very dangerous because some doors can break if we lean or fall into them.
Suction Cup Grab Bars
While readily available and inexpensive, suction cup grab bars are a dangerous misconception. These bars often come loose during hot showers and offer no support in a falling situation. They literally indicate on them to not utilize for weight bearing. Call the professionals at Oakley Home Access to assure your grab bars are securely anchored with specialized hardware as well placed properly based on our holistic, functional assessment.