Bathtub Safety for Seniors

Health and Safety

While soap and water gets us clean, it also provides a slipper surface and potential hazards.

While soap and water gets us clean, it also provides a slipper surface and potential hazards.

While bathtub safety is a concern for everyone, it is especially so for senior citizens.  It is estimated that one third of adults age 60 and over have difficulty climbing into or out of their bathtub or shower.  Slippery conditions and hard surfaces make bathrooms an area of high risk for people to fall and injure themselves.  The statistics are quite sobering, as according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), 27.000 older adults died from unintentional fall injuries in 2016 alone.  This is why it is extremely important to take preventative measures against falls in the bathroom.

The first thing you should know is that chances are, your standard bathroom equipment is not stable enough to protect you if you are falling.  For example, sliding glass shower doors are not designed to support a person’s weight, so bracing yourself against one can lead to disaster.  Similarly, towel bars are typically flimsier than they look and are not safe to grab onto in an emergency.

Thankfully, there are many quality safety devices for elderly adults available for purchase which can greatly improve the safety of your bathroom, or your elderly loved ones bathroom.  These bathroom safety products include:

  • Non-slip Mats- The easiest thing you can do for bathroom fall prevention is a non-slip bath mat to negate slippery surfaces.
  • Bath safety grip handles– It is highly important that you maintain your sense of balance in the shower in order to avoid falling.  Well-placed and properly installed bath grab bars can help with preventing falls.
  • Bath safety seats– Unfortunately, some seniors who have difficulty standing in the shower try to solve the issue by bringing a household chair or stool into the tub or shower with them.  This is highly unsafe, as these chairs were not designed to remain stable while sitting on the curved edges of the bathtub.  Instead, you can purchase what is known as a bathtub transfer bench, which will help you as you climb in and out of the tub.  A transfer bench allows you to sit down outside of the tub, and then slide over into the tub while still in a seated position.  If you have difficulty with the motion of sliding, self-sliding seats are available as well.  For standalone showers, you can purchase a shower chair or bath bench which will allow you to sit comfortably while showering.  Even if you have these items, it is still recommended you install at least one safety grip handle as well.
  • Walk-in bathtubs– Walk-in bathtubs are the ideal purchase for bathroom safety for seniors.  This is a bathtub that fully replaces your existing bathtub and has an open area that allows you to walk in unassisted.  These tubs can have a variety of added features such as heated seating, textured floors, hand-held shower sprayers, and built-in safety grip handles.
  • Senior friendly toliet seats– Raised toliet seats, special commode chairs and toliet safety frames can all help keep the bathroom safe.

All of these bathroom safety products for seniors can help you aging loved one age in place longer and avoid assisted living for as long as possible.