When making the decision to age-in-place, many seniors and people living with disabilities focus on remodeling and renovating their bathrooms so that they can have safe and accessible functional facilities in this very important personal space of the home.
With years of statistics reporting long incident lists of bathroom accidents, it is no surprise that so many people emphasize upgrading these areas in order to remain living comfortably, safely, and independently.
The International Conference on Aging, Disability, And Independence (ICAD) has identified that numerous examples of bathroom designs fail to provide the appropriate amount of safety protection. In fact, the ICAD notes that many studies suggest that in general, bathrooms pose the most threats to personal safety in the home.
The following fatality statistics are related to bathroom accidents:
· Over 100 people die of bathtub-related burn injuries every year.
· One person dies every day from using a bathtub or shower in the United States.
· Bathroom deaths exceed those due to handgun accidents, ladder and scaffolding falls, and ignition of clothing.
In addition, thousands of injuries occur in bathrooms annually (estimated numbers):
· 140,000 due to bathtubs and showers;
· 43,000 because of towel bars;
· 35,000 from toilets;
· 21,000 due to sinks;
· 6,000 because of faucets;
· 2,000 from laundry hampers.
Slips and falls are the most frequent types of bathtub accidents. This can be even more of a danger and problem for seniors who have decreased vision, balance, or flexibility. In fact, one out of three Americans over 65 will suffer a fall. These accidents generally occur while entering and leaving the tub, or while changing between sitting and standing positions.
A recent article on the Age in Place website described that renovations to a bathroom can not only greatly increase home safety for seniors who choose to age-in-place, but the remodels themselves can also be stylish and aesthetically pleasing.
Here are a few bathroom modifications that can greatly increase home safety and decrease the incidents of accidents and injuries:
· Replace standard toilets with a comfort-height version. Comfort-height toilets are several inches higher and are easier to use.
· Install grab bars in the shower, tub, and toilet areas. Double rows in tubs and showers are ideal because they assist both standing and seated bathers. Grab bars and hand grips are now available in many of the same fashion finishes as faucets and other bath accessories.
· Replace knob-style faucets with lever-handled faucets. These are much easier to grip by someone with arthritis, Parkinson’s, or diminished strength.
· Replace wall-mounted shower heads with ones on slide bars.
· Replace pre-code shower valves with non-scald versions. Scalding is one of the most serious bath injuries and can be avoided by using pressure and temperature-balanced shower valves.
· Add benches to shower stalls. This is helpful for users who need to sit while showering and works best with slide bar shower heads.
· Increase bathroom lighting and color contrasts. This can offset decreased vision.
· Remove sharp edges on countertops.
· Check that vent fans are working properly to help avoid mold. Vent fans should ideally vent outside the home. Modern vent fans that turn on and off automatically when they sense moisture in the room are ideal.
· Replace smooth, slick flooring with textured tiles. Textured tiles provide more traction. Floor treatments to existing smooth surfaces can also improve traction.
· Remove steps in front of tubs. Commonly found in master baths, these are high-risk slip hazards.
An expert bathroom remodeler like Village Craftsmen can help you design and remodel your bathroom to be even safer—as well as more accessible and beautiful than ever before.
Take the next step toward your independent future. Village Craftsmen offers a THRIVE Bathroom Design Safety Program to not only help you age in place, but thrive in place. An in-home, experienced rehabilitation technician will:
* LISTEN to your concerns regarding bathroom safety
* ASSESS your bathroom with the Thrive Safety Protocol
* PROVIDE you with recommendations for your safety & fall prevention
* ARRANGE for a quote to install safety enhancements if you desire
To learn more contact us today or call 330-896-2000.