If there’s one room in the home that’s more dangerous than any other, it’s the bathroom. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year more than 230,000 people visit the emergency room due to accidents in the bathroom, with about two-thirds of them happening in the bathtub or shower. 

For older adults, the bathroom can be particularly risky. Johns Hopkins reports that one out of four adults over the age of 65 experience a fall, with 80% of those occurring in the bathroom. 

But fear not! There are a number of simple steps you can take to keep your bathroom — and bathtubs, in particular — safe and secure, especially for senior citizens. Let’s take a look at tips for bathtub safety for seniors to keep your loved ones healthy and fall free. 

Non-Slip Flooring

Slipping on a wet floor is the number-one cause of falls in the bathroom. You can’t get rid of the water (it is a bathroom, after all), but you can make the floor surface less slippery when water is present. 

The best option is to install non-slip flooring throughout the bathroom. Many manufacturers today sell a wide variety of alternatives to tile such as non-slip linoleum, vinyl, or bamboo. Cork flooring is becoming an increasingly popular option, as well. 

Another possibility is adhering non-slip decals to the floor of the bathroom, bathtub, and/or shower. This type of product is less expensive and easier to install than a whole new floor or bathtub. 

Grab Bars

Even with slip-proof flooring, water still finds a way to get just about everywhere in the bathroom. Toilets and sinks are mostly made of slippery porcelain, which makes them less than ideal for supporting a person trying to maneuver their way through the bathroom. 

Grab bars provide much-needed stability in the tub or shower and around the sink and toilet. In the past, people have associated grab bars with accessibility, but these days they are becoming quite common as more buildings and homes are constructed using universal design

Barrier-Free Tub

Although they are the priciest recommendation on this list, barrier-free tubs are a great solution for providing a safer, more stable bathing experience. Numerous models are available that give users the easiest access possible to their tub or shower, with no steps to navigate and minimal edges to cross over. 

Some shower models even have a seamless transition from floor to shower (barrier free), making it easy for wheelchairs or walkers to glide through. 

Bathtub/Shower Bench

The best solution to having stability in the shower or tub is to provide a sturdy, slip-free, water-proof chair or bench. Combined with a hand-held shower head, bathing can be easy and accident free for older adults in your family.

Keep Things Tidy

Another simple — and no-cost — solution for ensuring bathtub safety for seniors is keeping the bathroom clean and free from clutter. Keep all areas clear, including the floor, sink and vanity, and the bathtub/shower itself.

Any potential tripping hazards such as towels, throw rugs, or baskets should be removed from the bathroom entirely. If you need rugs or bath mats, ensure you are using ones that grip to the floor.  And make sure that all the essential items your loved one needs such as soap, razors, or medicines are easy to reach. 

Do Your Part to Ensure Bathtub Safety for Seniors

You can make a big difference in keeping your loved ones safe in their homes — bathtubs included — by taking the steps above. With just a few low-cost or no-cost options, bathtub safety for older adults is relatively simple and easy.

If you have questions or would like some guidance for making a bathtub safer for the seniors in your life, give us a call at Omicelo Health. We’re here to help you and the people you care about age in place so they can stay healthy while remaining independent and mobile. 

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