Avoiding Slips and Falls

(ARA) – It’s the time of year for Mother Nature’s worst. Rain, sleet and ice coupled with less sunlight may have you worried about company — or yourself — slipping on sidewalks or driveways. But did you know there’s another area of your home that poses a greater risk for falls and accidents than anywhere else? And it’s the one place you and your visitors can’t avoid – the bathroom.

In 2001 alone, more than 1.6 million seniors were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries and nearly 388,000 were hospitalized. So how can you prevent an accident this season? Take a fresh look at your bathroom with some safety considerations in mind. A few simple changes can make a big difference for you and your family’s peace of mind.

Keep things light and bright. Whether you’re six years old or 65 years young, nighttime visits to the bathroom are a fact of life. Darkness, coupled with guests in unfamiliar surroundings, is often a recipe for bumps and bruises. Consider using nightlights or motion-activated lights in the bathroom to help make things safer.

Install easy-to-use grab bars. Gone are the days of institutional looking grab bars that require professional installation. Now, a new line of SecureMount grab bars from Home Care by Moen make installation safer and easier. “Traditional grab bars require that three screws be installed directly into wall studs or wood blocking for a secure and safe installation,” said Kevin Jones, senior product/brand manager at Home Care by Moen. “That’s virtually impossible to do with grab bars on the market today. Their design limitations mean that in the vast majority of cases, the installer can only get one, or sometimes two screws, into the wood stud or backing. With SecureMount, consumers are given six openings to choose from, which allow for a secure installation into a stud at any angle – horizontally, vertically or even diagonally.” Adding to this peace-of-mind is that once installed, SecureMount grab bars exceed Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements with a 500-pound weight pull capacity and lifetime rustproof guarantee.

Think color and variety. Did you know that a white shower, toilet, walls and floor create an illusion that makes it more difficult to step in and out of a tub safely? Simply painting your walls a color other than white can create much needed visual separation. The advice holds true when installing grab bars or similar safety devices. Choose a color or finish – such as Chrome or Brushed Nickel – that stands out against the wall so people can quickly and easily spot it. These distinctive finishes not only provide added safety and convenience – they can coordinate perfectly with your other bath fixtures, like faucets and accessories.

Counteract slippery floors. Wet tile and tubs are unavoidable in the bath, but it’s easy to make them less treacherous. Use bath mats with nonslip backing on tile floors and adhesive-backed non-slip strips for bathtubs. Depending on your bathroom style or taste, you can even choose adhesive-backed strips that come in decorator patterns and fun child-friendly shapes.

Do a clutter check. Bathroom countertops can only hold so much. And the more there is crowding the small space, the easier it is to get disoriented – especially at night. Use baskets to organize toiletries and install easy-to-reach robe hooks and towel bars to keep linens off of the ground. Also, always keep soaps and shampoos within easy reach.

Make yourself available. The No. 1 cause of emergency room visits for adults age 65 or older is falls. That’s why, if you – or any of your frequent visitors – are over age 65, consider having a cordless phone available in the bathroom. Emergency personnel also suggest never locking a bathroom door. It can slow down access to someone who’s injured and unable to move.

Stay active and healthy. “I often get asked how to avoid a potential injury or fall,” said Todd Ott, occupational therapist and member of the Home Care by Moen Advisory Council. “The key is increasing muscle strength by staying active. It helps make you stronger and improves overall balance.” During this season of colds and infections, it’s also important to check the side effects of medications. “Even the healthiest person can feel off-balance with a sinus infection or common cold,” said Ott. “That’s why I’m a strong advocate of taking preventive measures, like using nonslip bath rugs and easy-to-install grab bars, in every bathroom.”

Your bathroom doesn’t have to be a danger zone this season – or any time of year. A few “quick fixes” can help you and your family remain safe and comfortable.

For more information on Creative Specialties International and the Home Care by Moen line of bath safety products, visit homecare.moen.com or call toll free (800) 882-0116.
All items are available nationwide at Lowe’s and at select home health and medical equipment suppliers.

Courtesy of ARA Content