Falling in the Bathroom

Apr 17, 2014 by

I remember the first time I slipped and fell in the tub in my late 40’s.  I thought, “I am officially old now.” As an Occupational Therapist I learned early on in college that bathrooms were a high-risk area for falls, especially for seniors.

Also, during my years of working in rehabilitation, I saw first hand the debilitating injuries from falls in the bathroom, including hip fractures, arm fractures, head injuries and more.  I saw, especially with the elderly, how these bathroom falls quickly precipitated a decline in their ability to care for themselves at home, and leaving them with a significant amount of ongoing pain, and most often followed by a move out of their home into a supportive senior facility.

Bathrooms are high-risk areas for falls, especially as we age.

According to the CDC, Center for Disease, Control and Prevention,

  •  “The most hazardous activities for all ages are bathing, showering and getting out of the tub or shower. Injuries in or near the bathtub or shower account for more than two-thirds of emergency room visits.”
  • “Every year about 235,000 people over age 15 visit emergency rooms because of injuries suffered in the bathroom, and almost 14 percent are hospitalized.”
  • “More than a third of the injuries happen while bathing or showering. More than 14 percent occur while using the toilet.”
  • “Injuries increase with age, peaking after 85, the researchers found.”

In the 8 Essential Fall Prevention Tips for Seniors, http://likeadaughterscare.com/fall-prevention-seniors/

I emphasize, Asking For Help.

The reason is that, it is better and easier to prevent injuries from a fall, than too recover and rehab from injuries incurred from a fall.  I have seen how difficult and debilitating and painful and costly it is to heal from a fall.

I know for myself, asking for help is most difficult! I was raised to be an independent, and strong woman, which in my mind contradicts asking for help.

I was in a yearlong leadership program a few years ago. One exercise we did was moving through a maze, blindfolded and we were to find the exit even though we couldn’t see and only feel with our hands the rope that marked the paths of the maze.  We were all moving around, bumping into each other, trying to find the way out.  After a while, I finally called out for help to the program facilitators. And they came over quickly and quietly and lead me out of the maze.  The only way out was asking for help. The lesson, Asking for help is essential part of caring for ourselves and leading our lives.



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