The Centers for Disease Control reports that an elderly American falls every second and are the leading cause of injury or death among Americans aged 65 and over.
There are several preventive measures that can be taken to preserve senior citizens’ independence while also ensuring their safety.
Of all falls occurring in the home, 80% happen in the bathroom andone in five falls results in a serious injury such as a broken bone or head injury.
Bathroom falls generally happen when entering or exiting the tub or shower, sitting down on or rising from the toilet, and attempting to support one’s balance by grabbing onto towel bars, sink tops and other objects.
A significant number of falls in the bathroom can be prevented with effective renovation. There are numerous preventive measures to encourage safety in the bathroom for older adults, such as replacing a bathtub with an easily accessible walk-in shower, and installing sturdy safety bars for grabbing onto and maneuvering around the bathroom.
The CDC states that falls for elderly adults are preventable with screening and effective strategies, including checking the home for safety. They suggest getting rid of hazards and keeping floors free of clutter, as well as taping down or securing rugs, adding grab bars and ensuring that there’s plenty of light in the area.
Keeping elderly family members safe with a higher quality of life by living at home is key for most families. Responsible bathroom renovations can give relatives peace of mind by significantly reducing the risk of falls, while allowing elderly adults to remain in their homes.
The most important step towards successful safety measures in the bathroom starts with hiring a contractor who has professional training and education, and is qualified to install such safety features.
Look for Certified Aging in Place Specialists, which have taken special certification courses to ensure that aging-in-place guidelines are achieved for bathroom remodels.
By Gregory Norman, Special to the Coastal Real Estate Guide
Norman is co-founder of BathMasters, a Virginia plumbing, electrical and building contractor company.