How safe is your bathroom? Are you able to access it with ease? January is Bath Safety Month and the perfect time to evaluate the baths in your home for safety issues. There are tips and tactics that can make the bathroom a much safer place- as well as implements that can improve access to the bath for those with physical limitations, disabilities, or issues.
Are there safety issues in your bathroom? If you have physical limitations or mobility issues, small obstacles can become big barriers to independence and aging in place. Plus, many of the access hurdles found in the bathroom are easily resolved with basic mobility aids and equipment– which may be covered at least in-part by insurance plans and coverages. If your bathroom could use some updating to be safer, consider doing it in January, Bath Safety Month. National Bath Safety Month reminds consumers to take some extra care and use precautions to prevent a nasty fall and subsequent injury. Stay safe and enhance accessibility to your bathroom with the following tips:
Bathrooms are notoriously dangerous places due to the often-cramped quarters and sometimes slick surfaces. Using the toilet presents additional challenges for those with mobility issues or problems with balance. For instance, sitting and standing from the commode can be problematic and cause falls- a raised toilet seat can be helpful. These are particularly beneficial for anyone with joint pain or stiffness.
Furthermore, a grab bar positioned near the toilet can be an excellent source of support and stability for those using the facility. These are inexpensive to implement, but make sure that they are installed properly in a secure wall stud to prevent problems later.
Tubs and Showers
Perhaps the most common source of falls is those endured while bathing. Many may underestimate the hidden hazards in showering or bathing, which can result in failure to use precautions. Precautions include clear floors with non-slip coverings, like bathmats, but make sure that there are no curled or loose edges that can trip you up. Simply standing for a prolonged period to wash can also cause trouble for some; a shower seat or tub chair may solve that issue.
If you are renovating the bath, consider using a frameless shower that does not require lifting of legs to enter; these also are compatible for wheelchairs, which typically can roll right in the stall. Again, grab bars and railings are always prudent and practical. Talk to a mobility retailer in your region to learn more.
Take a good look at your bathroom floor? What is the condition of the tile or floor covering? Slick, ragged, or cluttered floors are a recipe for disaster- especially for anyone that may have some physical limitations. Prevent slips on slick surfaces with adhesive treads; these are often found inside tubs or along the side of the shower area. Skip the scatter rugs as these can easily trip you up and cause a fall.
Ask someone who has recently experienced a fall and many may report that it was due to poor lighting. Poor or inadequate lighting can cause anyone to stumble, fall, and often sustain injury. For seniors or those with medical issues, this can be devastating. Replace and enhance lighting throughout the home but pay special attention to the bathroom. First, improved lighting will make it easier to complete your everyday ADLs (Activities of Daily Living), like dressing, washing, and getting ready for the day, and second, it could curb energy costs and save you money each month. Opt instead for new and efficient LED lights, bulbs, and fixtures. These are cooler to the touch when in use and they last a lot longer, so you won’t need to climb up to replace them as often. They also provide a better illumination that can be life changing while making life much easier.
Steps and Stairs
Are there steps or stairs between you and the bathroom in your home living situation? If going up and down stairs presents challenges, you may want to discuss the feasibility of installing a stairlift in the home. The misconception of lifts is that many feel they do not qualify for these aids; the truth is, the time to get one is before you take a nasty tumble on the stairs. Don’t resolve to live your life on the first floor due to mobility issues or physical disabilities; talk to a mobility professional about a stairlift and live life to the fullest, upstairs and down!
Create a safer bathroom environment for you, or someone you love, with these tips and suggestions. Visit the mobility experts at Pacific Mobility for the latest in mobility aids, devices, and equipment- plus the expertise and customer support that has earned them a fine reputation and loyal consumer audience widely. Call or visit the team today!
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)