Making home safety improvements that reduce fall risk increases safety and helps seniors live independently at home for longer. Aging at Home Safely shares 9 simple, low-cost bathroom modifications that reduce fall risk without breaking the bank.
The most important thing we can do as we age is to avoid falls. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury and death in people aged 65 and older.
According to the CDC, “Every second of every day, an older adult (age 65+) suffers a fall in the U.S. – making falls the leading cause of injury and death in this age group. 1 in 4 adults will fall each year in the United States, making falls a public health concern, particularly among the aging population.”
Falls, however, are not a normal part of aging. And thankfully, there is a lot that we can do to help prevent falls.
Here, we’ll focus on simple changes in the bathroom that help older adults live safely and independently for longer.
More than 75% of falls happen in the home and the bathroom is often the main culprit.
If you’re open to more involved changes like replacing a standard tub with a walk-in tub or curbless shower, replacing a standard toilet with an ADA or comfort-height toilet, or even replacing the flooring with low maintenance, non-skid flooring.
Simple changes in the bathroom help extend independence for as long as possible and can still fit within the budget.
9 low-cost bathroom modifications
- Shower chair – increase safety while showering by staying seated rather than standing.
- Tub transfer bench – helps someone get into the tub while staying seated, eliminating the need to step over the side of the tub.
- 3 in 1 commode – built-in safety frame adjusts the height of the toilet, portable for use over the toilet or at bedside, also comes in bariatric size, and is easy to clean.
- Grab bars – install grab bars in the shower, near the toilet, or along a wall. In wet areas, use textured grab bars.
- Swing-away grab bars – heavy-duty “U” shaped grab bars that are installed on each side of the toilet, providing greater stability for toilet transfers.
- Offset door hinges – widens doorways to allow more space for walkers or wheelchairs.
- Hand-held shower head – convenient to use while seated on a shower chair.
- Suction cup shelves – adds convenient shower or tub storage at eye or shoulder level and eliminates clutter on the shower or tub floor. Pro tip: Store shampoo and body wash in travel-size containers to avoid handling large, heavy containers that can easily slip and drop on the feet.
- Shower curtain – replace glass shower doors with a shower curtain to increase safety by making it easier to access the entrance of the shower/tub.
Recommended for you:
- Home Modifications for Seniors: A Room-by-Room Guide for Safety and Independence
- 15 Minute Senior Exercise Program for Balance and Strength
- 7 Sources of Home Repair Assistance for Seniors
Guest contributor: Janet Engel, OT/L, CAPS, is an Occupational Therapist, a Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist, and a home modification expert. Janet is the founder and CEO of Aging at Home Safely. She has been working in the home health industry for over 10 years. Janet is passionate about helping older adults age-in-place through home modification and home safety strategies.
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