Health System Services | Bathroom Safety

Bathroom Safety

The bathroom is a necessity, each and every day. While this may seem like a matter of course to the average person, even an activity as basic as taking a shower or a bath can seem daunting and even dangerous to someone with mobility issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, roughly 235,000 people over the age of 15 have accidents in the bathroom, with 14 percent of them being hospitalized. More than one third of all bathroom injuries happen during a bath or a shower.

Most accidents, however, happen around and over the age of 85 years old. The bathroom is full of slippery tile surfaces that could cause a serious injury to anyone who is disabled or elderly. If the person lives alone, a slip and fall while attempting to get into or out of the shower or bath could be deadly; about 9.8 percent of bathroom injuries occur when getting out of the shower or the tub. Slippery floors in and out of the shower often cause broken bones and brain injuries among the elderly in particular, and when it is used at night, the darkness combined with the slick surfaces is also incredibly dangerous. This being said, no one wants to sacrifice their independence or their privacy; luckily, roll-in showers and walk-in tubs make it possible for the disabled to retain their mobility.

ROLL-IN SHOWER

Roll-in showers are also hugely convenient for the disabled, especially those who are wheelchair-bound. The shower has a very low, flexible threshold that allows the wheelchair to roll in, but keeps water in the shower with a rubber stopper. Like the walk-in bath, these showers can also be outfitted with grab bars, bench seats, and other accessories to make the shower safer and more accessible for people of all abilities.

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WALK-IN TUBS

The idea of a walk-in tub is that it eliminates the need to step in and out of the tub, instead using a door that swings open and closed as you walk in and out. There is no need to sacrifice the luxury of a bath, either, as jets and heated seats can be installed with this tub as well. It is helpful to also install grip flooring in the bottom of the tub, grab bars, and even bench seats to make it extra safe. Fortunately, installing a walk-in bath is quite simple and can even be done by your local plumber, or by a Home Depot near you.

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While these solutions are definitely practical, you may think that the costs associated with them are not. Remodeling of any kind is expensive, but luckily, Medicaid often covers modifications so that the elderly or disabled may remain in their homes. There are also certain waivers and grants that may cover installation, for the elderly as well as for disabled veterans. Small loans may also be taken out to cover the costs. There are many ways to pay for the modifications, and it is up to the customer to find the method of payment that best fits their situation. As for the installation itself, it takes about the same time and same materials as it does for the installation of an average bathtub or shower.

The bathroom truly is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home for the elderly or the disabled. Thousands of injuries happen every year when someone slips and falls getting in and out of the shower, and for the elderly in particular, serious injuries may lead to more serious illnesses. By installing walk-in tubs or roll-in showers, the probability of bathroom accidents is greatly reduced, and the user can bathe or shower independently in the comfort of their own home.

5 BENEFITS OF BATHROOM MODIFICATIONS

Making modifications to a bathroom to accommodate the needs of the elderly or disabled can be much simpler than you think. There are a great many benefits to modifying your bathroom, whether you are simply downsizing and preparing to make your home more accessible for the future, or you require an immediate renovation.