|Photo by J. Star.|
Injuries range from abrasions to lacerations to concussions to fractures.
According to a summary of a CDC report on non-fatal bathroom injuries for persons 15 and older,
"Almost one-third (30 percent) of adults 65 and above who were injured in bathrooms were diagnosed with fractures. Among adults aged 85 and older, 38 percent were hospitalized as a result of their injuries."
After reading the full CDC report (issued June 10, 2011), I learned the following:
- The riskiest activities (nearly 2/3 of bathroom injuries) are showering, bathing, or exiting afterwards.
- Falls can occur when entering the tub--but just 2% of bathroom injuries.
- Women (64.3%) were more likely to be injured than men (35.7%).
- 14% of reported bathroom injuries occurred when rising from the toilet or descending onto it. But when persons 65 and older were isolated, the rate of toilet-related injury was between 19% and 37% of bathroom injuries.
Or fainting can happen when standing after sitting on the toilet or sitting in the tub. This is called "postural hypotension" and can be caused by dehydration. Also, some medications can cause dizziness, leading to falls with or without fainting.
The report includes two tables. The CDC summarizes the data from these tables:
"Falls were the most common primary cause of injury (81.1%), and the most frequent diagnosis was contusions or abrasions (29.3%). The head or neck was the most common primary part of the body injured (31.2%). Most patients (84.9%) were treated and released from the ED [Emergency Department]. 13.7% were treated in the ED and subsequently hospitalized."
In order to prevent injuries, consider the following:
- Stay hydrated
- Exercise to improves strength and stability
- Monitor medications
- Remove loose rugs
- Add non-skid tape to tubs or showers
- Install a taller toilet
- Add grab bars near shower/tub and toilet
How to improve the safety of a bathroom is an extensive topic itself. Here is just one guide, but consider hiring a professional who specializes in aging-in-place upgrades.