Bathroom Safety with Arthritis

1.6 Million older adults fall each year [1] with the most serious accidents and falls occurring in the bathroom when showering, bathing, or toileting. In fact, 70% of all bathroom falls happen in the tub or shower and 25% of bathroom injuries occur near the toilet. Implementing safety measures in the bath or shower will help to reduce the chances of severe injury.

Shower Safety:

Because arthritis causes pain and stiffness in the joints, it can be very difficult to shower independently —bending, reaching, gripping and overall movement can impede the ability to adequately wash oneself in the shower. Putting safety measures into place while entering, exiting and inside the shower can significantly help to reduce the likelihood of suffering from an injury due to falling or slipping. In addition, a shower seat, stool or built in bench is also highly recommended for enhanced safety.

Tub Safety:

Tubs, in general, are not so easy to get in and out of for a person afflicted with arthritis. Stiffness and pain can easily hinder balance that can result in a devastating fall. Bathing in the tub can have a soothing effect on people who suffer from arthritis, as it has remarkable benefits for joint pain and stiffness. Unfortunately, there may be apprehension on the part of the person with the arthritic condition to enjoy these benefits due to their fear of safely entering and exiting the tub. A non-skid step stool can be a great way to get in and out of the tub. Properly placed grab bars, as well as an inflatable cushion inside the bath itself can make the bathing experience a pleasant one. If finances allow, walk- in tubs can be a life-changing alternative for someone with severe arthritis.

Toilet Safety:

Getting on and off the toilet can be a tremendous challenge for someone with arthritis. When joint pain, stiffness and swelling keeps someone from comfortably toileting themselves, necessary measures must be implemented to prevent injury. Installing an elevated toilet seat can help to limit the discomfort when trying to sit or rise to a standing position. Additionally, making sure the toilet paper holder is in close reach and installing properly placed grab bars is essential to toilet safety. Joint stiffness due to arthritis can also make it a difficult to properly clean oneself after toileting. Having the proper toileting aids at close range can help to prevent even more discomfort and lessening the chance of losing ones’ balance resulting in a fall.


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