Preventing falls for seniors key to future quality of life

Maybe seniors stop using the bathtub and only shower because they are afraid to fall or get stuck.

More than one-third of seniors will fall this year. Many will fall more than once; some will die.

Most don’t discuss their falls with their health care providers until they are badly injured. Most seniors fall at home and most fall in the bathroom.

Many children of aging parents find that their parents mentioned that they are having trouble getting out of the tub or that they recently slipped.

Maybe they have stopped using the bathtub and only shower now because they are afraid to fall or get stuck.

This is a common problem and one that many people wish they had taken action sooner. The older you get, the worse a fall can be on your body. According to the Centers for Disease Control, falls are the leading cause of accidental death among seniors and a frequent cause of nursing home admissions.

When an older person falls, they are prone to broken and fractured hips along with other bones which become much more brittle with age.

Older people often have osteoporosis and other bone-degenerating conditions which affect the ability of the body to heal properly. A bad fall can have devastating health consequences.

The area where the majority of the falls occur is in the bathroom, especially while entering or exiting a tub. If it’s possible, replacing the bathtub with an accessible bathtub for the elderly would be the best solution to eliminate falls.

There are many accessible bathtubs available from walk-in to safer and more accessible slide-in models.

Higher toilets with grab bars, and night lights help. There are even glow-in-the-dark grab bars that perform double-duty. Adding grab bars to the shower/tub area and non-slip coatings to floors and shower floor in the bathroom are also recommended, says Matthew Longman, a certified aging in place specialist. Government funding through the BC Housing Home Adaptions for Independence Program is available to make homes safer and more accessible to those that qualify.