Research shows that the bathroom is one of the most common places seniors fall. An estimated one in three people over 65 years old suffer from a serious fall that causes injury or even death, and seniors have a 50% chance of losing their mobility after such an accident. In fact, one in ten lose their confidence and become scared to leave their home.
With that in mind, it's clearly important for seniors to minimize the risk of falls, and the bathroom is a perfect place to start. The shower can present many hazards, but you can keep things safer with a linear stainless steel drainage grate.
Here are just six ways they help older people avoid painful falls.
1. Ability to Go Curbless
A curbless shower is sometimes known as a zero-entry shower—there is no drop or rise where you enter. This is easy to achieve with a linear drainage grate—in fact, some showers are designed so the linear grate is fitted across the entrance. A difference in height at the entrance is harder to deal with when you suffer from mobility issues, and removing it removes the risk of tripping. Additionally, a curbless shower can be entered with a wheelchair, which might be something to think about for the future.
2. No Pooling Water
Showers traditionally use a single, round centre drain. Unfortunately, these don't drain water away as fast as linear drains; they block up faster and don't offer such a large surface area. Fitting a linear drain means water flows away quickly, so you don't end up standing in a small pool of water. Even a tiny puddle makes it easier to slip when you're in the shower. You'll also bring more water out on your feet, making the bathroom floor itself slippery and increasing the risk of a fall.
3. Reduced Humidity
Another benefit that comes with swifter draining is reducing the amount of humidity in your bathroom. When hot water doesn't drain right away, it has more of a chance to condense across the walls and floors. Even a thin layer of condensation across the bathroom floor can see an older user slip and fall.
4. No Tripping Hazard
The traditional centre round drain often needs to sit in the middle of a shower. This makes it a tripping hazard. Even if you don't trip on it, standing on it can present enough shock and discomfort to cause you to lose your balance, especially if you already suffer from mobility issues. Linear drainage grates can be made so they fit flush with the floor. You'll barely notice the difference when you walk over them.
5. Gentler Slope
Any walk-in shower is going to need a slight slope to direct water into the drain, but that slope will be less pronounced when you fit a linear drain; they can be fitted along a whole section of wall, so only the slightest tilt is needed to get all the water draining fast. Seniors are more likely to struggle with showering on a sloped floor, so it's a good idea to make things as level as possible.
6. Unbroken Surface
When you fit a centre round drain, you'll usually need to use relatively small tiles around it—after all, it needs to go around the middle of the shower floor. Since a linear shower drain can be put right against a wall, you can experiment with different flooring materials, even using a single piece of engineered stone, enamel, or plastic. It's much harder to slip on an unbroken surface than a tiled surface with lots of grout lines. Elderly people find deep grout lines particularly tough to deal with since they don't tend to lift their feet far from the ground while moving.
For more information, contact a company like Hydro Construction Products.