November 27th, 2018

The Dangers Of Elderly Bathing

Submitted by: Will Conlin

My mother is 74 years old. She is very independent and in pretty good health though she was recently diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. She is finally on a medication regime that works for her. Her biggest problem is she still works like she s in her 30 s. We planned on going grocery shopping together Saturday morning. About 10 am, I stopped by her home and rang her bell. She didn t answer so I used my key. She wasn t in the kitchen in her usual spot. I called for her and could hear her calling for me. I finally realized she was calling from the bathroom. She asked me to come in to help her. I was terrified at what I found. She hadn t fallen, there was no blood and the scene could even be considered comical if not for the possible negative consequences. She had gone in to take a long hot bath Friday evening after working outside most of the afternoon on Friday. She found she could not get out of the bathtub. Fortunately, it was summer, though she still could have become hypothermic and fortunately she was able to pull the shower curtain down to cover herself when she got chilled and fortunately she was able to drain the tub with her foot so she wasn t falling asleep in a full bathtub. She was a little sore and stiff, a little embarrassed but otherwise fine, we were lucky. But the situation made us realize she wasn t safe bathing alone.

Getting older is often accompanied by some health problems including reduced mobility due to aching joints, decreased exercise and loss of muscle tone. For many, lifting their leg to climb over the side of the tub can be a challenge. This can be difficult even with safety bars. For those who live alone, bathing can be very stressful for fear of falling getting in or out of a conventional bathtub or fear of not being able to get out of the tub after a long hot soak. Walk-in bathtubs or walk in showers offer a safer alternative for older or disabled people to bathe independently and in privacy.

Walk-in tubs have an access door that allows a person to walk into the bath rather than climbing over the side while trying to hold on to safety bars. There are numerous designs and many suppliers but there are basically two types. There is a taller compact bath that allows the person to sit down inside while bathing and the more traditional longer length bath which usually has a power seat to lower the-user into the bath. Many have hand-held sprayers which can be hung and used as a shower head for those who prefer a shower on occasion.

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Deciding which design to choose depends on several factors, the individual s mobility, size of the existing bathroom, height and weight of the user, drain time elderly people could get chilled waiting for the tub to drain, fill time low water pressure may not be suitable for deep compact tubs because they take longer to fill, and quality all walk-in tubs are not created equally. The tub should have a secure, leak-proof door so it is wise to check product reviews and warrantees.

Walk-in showers are also available in numerous designs from self contained steam shower units which usually have built in seats, to tile walls with showerheads. Again, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration when considering a walk-in shower. Mobility, existing bathroom size and style, height and weight of user are a few factors that should all be considered when deciding on a walk-in shower.

This experience has changed the way we perceived the dangers associated with elderly bathing. Needless to say after this incidence the family purchased a walk in bathtub for her. She has been enjoying it for the last 4 weeks. The air spa jets have helped her arthritis as much if not more than the medication she has been taking. She s happy with her new bathtub and the family is no longer has to worry about bathing accidents. I thought I would share my story so that it may make others aware of the dangers that the bathroom can hold for the elderly.

About the Author: The writer of this article purchased a

walk-in bathtub

made by

American walk in tubs

, Showerstallsinc also carries the a full line of

steam showers

and modern bathroom vanities.


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