Featured Stories

Bathroom safety could prevent a bad fall


Did you know that your bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in your home? There are nearly 200,000 bathroom accidents each year, and many of these accidents happen to older adults, all too often resulting in slip and fall injuries.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, each year one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. These falls can cause moderate to severe injuries such as hip fractures and head traumas and can increase the risk of early death.

In 2010, 2.3 million non-fatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments, and more than 662,000 of these patients were hospitalized. The direct medical cost of these falls was $30 billion.

People age 75 and older who fall are four to five times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.

Diane Disney Miller, the daughter of Walt Disney and one of the inspirations for the building of the Disney resorts, died at her home in Napa, Calif., on Nov. 9, 2013, at 79. According to the Walt Disney Company, the cause of death was the result of complications due to a fall.

Senior citizens have to deal with the fact that bathing can be a hazardous exercise daily, and the fear of falls can in fact make matters worse. This often leads to people choosing to find other ways to get clean.

What can a fall cost a senior?

According to the CDC, it is estimated that the average health-care cost associated with injuries due to a fall is around $19,000 per incident. This estimate calculated the cost of expenses, including hospital, nursing home, emergency room, and home-health care. This amount did not include the cost of doctors’ services.

How can you help prevent falls?

* Have your eyes checked yearly to be sure you see as well as you can.

* Make sure there is adequate lighting in the bathroom during the day as well as night.

* Do not have loose throw rugs that can trip you up and cause falls.

* Install grab bars in bathing and the toilet area of the bathroom.

As for a 21st century option of safe bathing, I am sure you know by now that walk-in bath tubs can be a good way to bathe safely.

There are several companies marketing these tubs to seniors these days, so here is what to look for:

* Make sure there is a good rating on the company and that it can provide references.

* Get at least two estimates before deciding on a company.

* Be advised that most companies will not quote you even a base price without coming out and giving you a two-hour presentation.

Advantages of a walk-in tub

Hydrotherapy has been used for thousands of years. The Greeks and Romans treated an array of conditions with it, putting together three of nature’s most powerful relieving agents: heat, water and air, which invigorates and gently massages the body while easing away aches and pains.

A person who has limited mobility because of arthritis, diabetes and other conditions relating to mobility will be helped by this therapy.

The Mayo Clinic found in a recent study that since bathing in your hydrotherapy tub stimulates exercise, soaking in one gives you some of the same health benefits of exercise but with less heart stress. A hot tub increases the heart rate while lowering blood pressure, instead of raising it as other forms of exercise do.

As for me, I’ll take hydrotherapy over a treadmill any day.

Lucy Whitehead is the Northwest distributor for TheraTub (TheraTub.com). Reach her at 503-742-3134.