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reviewed 7/26/2018

Bathroom fall prevention

Every year, 1 in 4 adults age 65 or older falls.

Make small changes for safety

Every year, 1 out of 4 adults age 65 or older falls. Over half of all falls happen at home, and many of them happen in the bathroom.

Many of these accidents could be prevented by making simple changes to your surroundings. Find out what you can do to prevent falls in your bathroom.

In and around the tub/shower

  • Mount a liquid soap dispenser on the wall to avoid having to reach and bend over in the tub or shower.
  • Install grab bars inside and next to the tub or shower.
  • Use nonslip mats in the bathtub or shower floor—and on the floor outside the tub.

Next to the toilet

  • Install grab bars next to the toilet.

On a light above the sink or on the ceiling

  • Be sure the bathroom is well-lit. Use bulbs that have the highest wattage recommended for the fixture.

On the wall next to the sink/mirror

  • Put a nightlight in the bathroom.

On a towel rack

  • Keep towels and other clutter off the floor so you don't trip over them

On a lower cabinet under or next to the sink

  • Keep items you use often in cabinets you can easily reach without using a step stool.

On a floor rug

  • Get nonslip bathmats or use double-sided tape on rugs to keep them from slipping.

What to do if you fall

  1. Remain still until you've recovered from the shock of falling and you know if you are injured.
  2. If you cannot get up, shout for help or crawl to the telephone and call 911. Try to get comfortable while you wait for help, especially if you are alone.
  3. If you can get up safely, roll over onto your side.
  4. Take a moment to rest as your body adjusts.
  5. Get on your hands and knees, and slowly crawl to a sturdy seat—like a toilet.
  6. Support your body by placing your hands on the seat. While kneeling, slide one foot forward so it's flat on the floor.
  7. Lift and turn your body slowly to sit on the seat.

Be sure to let your doctor know about any falls, even if you weren't hurt.

Sources: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Institutes of Health; National Safety Council

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