The bathroom is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home, particularly as we get older. In fact, around 30% of people over the age of 65 have sustained a fracture from a bathroom injury. Shower safety is important because this is a space that often leads to accidents.
If you want to make your bathroom safer for yourself or your older family members, you’ve come to the right place. Throughout this guide, we’ll take a closer look at the safety risks of showering, improvements you can make for your bathroom, and other safety tips to keep in mind, particularly if you plan to age in place.
Shower Risks for Seniors
For starters, it’s helpful to understand the safety risks that seniors face when taking a shower. By far, the two biggest risks are tripping and slipping, both of which can lead to a dangerous fall. So, when do these accidents occur?
In many cases, stepping in and out of a shower requires stepping over a threshold. As we get older, it’s easier to misjudge the height of the threshold, catching our foot so we trip. Trying to catch yourself to break the fall can lead to injuries, even if you don’t completely fall to the ground.
Beyond that, slipping on wet surfaces, either in the shower or once you step out, is also a risk. Again, this can lead to a dangerous fall where you’re at risk of hitting your head or even breaking a bone.
Shower Safety Improvements to Make to Your Bathroom
Knowing that tripping and slipping are the biggest safety risks to seniors, the best thing you can do is try to eliminate those hazards. Here are some safety improvements to consider when trying to make your shower safer.
Install a Barrier-Free Shower
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of tripping and falling is to replace your current shower with a barrier-free option. Unlike traditional showers, which typically have a threshold of two or three inches, a barrier-free shower has an entrance that’s flush with the floor so you don’t have to worry about tripping and falling.
Add Grab Bars
Another option is to install grab bars in your current or new shower. These are securely attached to the walls so you can have extra stability while you bathe. Grab bars can be especially helpful if the floor of your shower is slippery.
As a reminder, you should never use a towel bar in place of a grab bar. They aren’t equipped to hold your weight and could lead to injury if you grab onto them and they fall off the wall.
Install a Shower Seat
Adding a seat in your shower is another great way to give you extra stability as you bathe. You can buy a simple shower seat to keep in your shower, or you can include one in your new shower design.
Here at EZPro Baths Express, we offer built-in shower seating designs that are beautiful and functional. With a built-in seat, you won’t have to worry about it moving around while you bathe, giving you an extra sense of security.
Consider a Walk-In Tub
In some cases, showering may no longer be the best option for your needs. In that case, a walk-in tub can help keep you safe as you bathe. Walk-in tubs come with a secure door that you can open and step into, so you won’t have to worry about tripping and falling.
Beyond that, our walk-in tubs have comfortable built-in seating, hydrotherapy jets, grab bars, and non-slip flooring to help you relax and stay safe while you bathe.
Add Non-Slip Flooring
Finally, consider adding textured non-slip flooring to your shower, to prevent falling. You can add non-slip decals to your existing shower, or build a new one with built-in non-slip flooring during your bathroom renovation. Either way, this will give you peace of mind that you’ll stay upright while you bathe.
Small Adjustments You Can Make to Stay Safe
Beyond the bathroom modification tips outlined above, there are a few things you can do regularly to help stay safe in the shower.
Reduce Shower Clutter
First things first, take a look around your shower and remove any products you don’t need. It’s easier to trip over products in a cluttered shower, so remove them to help prevent an accident.
Make Sure Products Are Easy to Reach
Along those same lines, think about what you use in the shower each day. Then, rearrange them so they’re easy to reach. When you have to strain to grab a shampoo bottle, for instance, you’re at a higher risk of slipping in the process. Instead, make sure your products are within arm’s reach, especially if you install a shower chair.
Bathing is one of those tasks that we can start to do mindlessly. However, this is when carelessness comes into play. As you get older, slow down and take your time while you shower. When you’re more mindful about your movements in the shower, you’re less likely to slip and fall.
Use Non-Slip Mats
Stepping out of the shower is always risky, as your feet are usually still a bit wet. If you haven’t already, make sure you have a non-slip mat right outside of the shower so you can step out without worrying about it sliding out from under you.
Keep the Shower Clean
The more soap scum that’s built up on your shower floor, the more slippery the surface will be. Though it’s not a fun chore, be sure to keep your shower clean to help prevent dangerous buildup that could pose a tripping hazard.
Never Shower When You’re Home Alone
Finally, as you get older, it might be a good idea to start showering only when someone else is in the house. Then, if you trip, slip, or fall and hurt yourself, you won’t be stuck alone waiting for someone to come help you.
Here to Help Make Your Shower Safer
After reading this guide to shower safety for seniors, it’s time to evaluate your bathroom. Would it benefit from a safety makeover? Here at EZPro Baths Express, our team of experts can help you design a safer, more functional shower area that is also beautiful.
Contact us today to learn how to save on your bathroom safety renovation project and to get a free estimate. We look forward to helping you transform your bathroom!