How Risks At Home Increase As We Age
As we age, we become much more vulnerable to trips and falls.
From our mid-fifties onwards, we become increasingly more likely to do ourselves damage, even with a seemingly minor fall.
What’s more, the consequences of these falls become much more serious.
One uncomfortable statistic, cited by Peter Attia in his recent book, says that a pensioner breaking a hip will be in serious jeopardy – even if they make it through the ensuing ordeal of recovery.
If you’re considering modifications to your bathroom as you age , these are risks worth paying attention to.
After all, this is an area of the home where slips and falls are more likely.
So, what modifications might we make to reduce those risks, and to make life generally easier for the older person using the bathroom?
Elevated toilet seat
The lower we have to squat to get to the toilet seat, the more pressure will be put onto the lower back and legs.
A raised seat means less effort, and more comfort. For those of us who need to visit the toilet more regularly as we age, this can be a significant quality-of-life advantage.
Consider a walk-in shower
Having to step over the side of a tub can become inconvenient, as well as risky, as we get older. You might struggle to lift your leg that high – and if you’re struggling in an environment that, by its nature, is wet and slippery, then you’re putting yourself at risk.
A walk-in shower addresses this problem.
There’s no need to step over or walk around any obstacles: simply step in, shower, and step out.
An electric shower can be an affordable, powerful and intuitive asset in any bathroom – and thus, this is a modification worth considering.
If you’re an elderly person who struggles with gripping and twisting motions, then a lever-based tap might be an excellent substitute for the traditional sort.
You might even find taps that can be operated by foot.
Twistable taps can be a struggle even for younger people, particularly if we’re talking about older fixtures which have seized up over time.
Replacements can make life in the bathroom much more bearable.
Grab bars and rails
A simple rail or bar in the right place can reduce the risk for elderly people, while limiting the strain on their bodies.
When we grab onto a rail to lift ourselves, we’re reducing the pressure on our knees and hips – joints which are at risk of failure as we get into our sixties, seventies and eighties.
Let’s close by mentioning one of the simplest changes we can make to the bathroom – the addition of rubberised anti-slip mats.
Install these in any area where the floor is likely to be wet, and you’re going to be standing up. They might make the difference!
In an ideal scenario, having increased natural light in the bathroom is preferable.
However, due to the trend of smaller bathrooms nowadays, this isn’t always feasible. Instead, the lighting should be appropriately bright to ensure that your loved one can clearly perceive their surroundings and activities.
On the other hand, too much lightning is not the optimal option either – having an excessively bright lights can cause discomfort or glare for seniors and is thus a potential hazard.
Probably the most effective approach would be to integrate several bright white light sources.
Place an additional source of light above the sink area and another one in proximity to the shower.
Weighted shower curtain
A weighted shower curtain has a distinctive design. Its main function in the bottom is to diminish or even prevent water droplets from splashing onto dry sections of the bathroom.
Preventing the floor from getting wet would substantially reduces the risk of slips and falls. A solid weighted shower curtain includes robust magnets along its lower edge.
This way it stays securely in place during use.
Furthermore, the added weight of the material acts as a barrier against cold air from the outside entering the showering area.
Safer flooring alternatives
Cork flooring is a great choice for us as we age
When well cared for, it can literally last decades. Thanks to the resilient and cushioned nature of cork tiles, they offer excellent grip for walking.
Moreover, this type of flooring minimizes the potential for injury in the event of a fall, providing added protection against severe bruising.
Typically, cork flooring is equipped with a durable sealant.
The primary drawback to cork flooring, however, is the requirement for an annual resealing, which can incur relatively high costs.