When it comes to older folks, mobility issues can make cleaning themselves more difficult. Taking a bath or showering can present safety issues for an older adult. But which is safer? And how can we as caretakers mitigate safety risks while maintaining good hygiene?

Safety Concerns When Showering or Bathing

Wet surfaces pose significant fall risks for older adults. The bathroom is a common place for older adults to experience a falling incident. Roughly 80% of falls experienced in the home by a senior will be in the bathroom. Because the tub also involves lowering and raising oneself, there is a greater chance of incident when entering or exiting the tub. While showering, an individual can slip at any time. If the shower has a high curb or is also a bathtub, the individual can fall while getting in or out.

Increasing Safety in the Bathroom

Grab bars and non-slip surfaces are important to reducing the environmental risks in the bathroom. Shower seats can make washing easier. A bath bench can make entering the tub more safe. If entering the shower or tub is too difficult, consider renovating to include a curbless shower or a walk-in tub. A hand-held showerhead can make showering easier and safer as well.

Which is Safer?

Generally, a shower is safer than a tub for most individuals. However, using mobility aids can help reduce fall risks for either situation. Because bathtubs require you to step over and in, followed by a lowering motion, they are generally less safe. Especially for stand-alone showers, the risk of falling is significantly lowered. Installing grab bars, a shower mat, and a hand-held showerhead will significantly make a shower safer for your older loved one. Adding a shower seat will also help. Therapeutic walk-in tubs and other washing systems designed specifically for older or disabled individuals may be safer than a standard shower or bath found in your everyday household.

Showering or Bathing with Professional Assistance

Another way to reduce fall risk when bathing or showering is to hire professional assistance. A certified home health aide is a trained professional who can assist your loved one at home throughout the day. One of the many ways they can help is with washing your loved one. Mobility issues often increase with age, so assistance during bathing or showering can help reduce the risk of serious injury.

Safe Harbor Healthcare Services does not provide medical, healthcare, or financial advice via articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide, and should not be relied on for medical advice.
Safe Harbor Healthcare Services has provided excellent home care on Staten Island since 1967. Our services help older and disabled individuals live safely and independently; while giving their families the peace of mind they need. For more information contact us or call (718)-979-6900.