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10 Safety Tips for Seniors to Prevent Bathroom Falls and Injuries

Within the comfort of our homes, a silent threat looms for millions of seniors – the risk of bathroom falls. As we age, the bathroom – once a sanctuary for comfort – becomes a danger zone. 

Bathroom falls among older adults can lead to serious injuries, affecting their independence and quality of life. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls among adults age 65 and older are the leading cause of injury death. Studies show most falls happen at home in the bathroom.

As we age, our bodies undergo changes that can increase the risk of falls. Factors such as balance issues, reduced muscle strength, poor vision and certain medications can make seniors more vulnerable to falls. Environmental factors like poor lighting, uneven floors or nonslip mats can also increase the risk.

“Stepping over a large lip into a tub or shower, visiting the bathroom at night without good lighting or walking on bathroom floors that are slippery and often damp can easily lead to a slip, trip or fall,” said Jennifer Lawless, director of the Banner Olive Branch Senior Center. “Even unusual movements, such as reaching for your shampoo on the shower floor or lowering yourself onto a low toilet seat, can also be a real risk.”

Fortunately, there are ways you can reduce bathroom falls at home. With the help of Lawless, we share simple and cost-effective ways to reduce the risk of you or a loved one experiencing a fall in the bathroom. 

Ten bathroom safety tips to reduce your fall risk

1. Get a home assessment: Get a professional to check your bathroom and home for fall risks.

“Many non-medical home care companies, local fire stations and others will come out to your home – often for free – and look for fall hazards,” Lawless said. “I really encourage families to attend these meetings so you can help make the changes that these professionals suggest for creating a safer home.”

2. Clear clutter: Keep the bathroom floor clear of clutter, including loose rugs, towels and electrical cords, which can be tripping hazards. Designate storage areas for toiletries and other items to maintain a tidy and organized space. 

3. Put down non-slip mats: Place non-slip mats or adhesive strips on the bathroom floor, inside and outside the shower and tub, to provide traction and reduce the risk of slipping on wet surfaces. “You don’t want a mat that moves easily on a wet floor,” Lawless noted. 

Check the mats regularly and replace them when they show signs of wear.

4. Install a grab bar: Place the bars in key locations, such as next to the toilet and inside the shower or tub. These provide stable support when you sit, stand or move around in the bathroom. 

Make sure the grab bars are securely anchored to the wall and can support your weight. “There are organizations in many communities who will install these free of charge for seniors,” Lawless said.

5. Sit safely with a shower chair or bench: Getting rid of a shower/tub combo with a large lip is helpful. If that’s not possible, find a chair that you can use in the shower that you can transfer while seated on a transfer bench. 

Check that the bench has rubber tips on the legs to prevent it from sliding on wet surfaces.

6. Adjust the lighting: Poor lighting can make it difficult to see potential hazards in your bathroom. Consider installing motion sensor lights or those that turn on automatically when it gets dark. 

7. Get moving: Exercise is very important as you age for many reasons, especially for safety and fall prevention. The more regular physical exercise you do, especially strength training and flexibility strengthening like Tai Chi or yoga, the more you can prevent and recover from a fall. 

“If you are already used to, for example, squatting safely during exercise, your risk of falling while getting on a lower toilet seat decreases,” Lawless said. “If you are regularly doing strength training, lifting yourself off the ground will be easier if you do fall.”  

8. Check your medication: Many medications, like anti-seizure drugs, antidepressants, sedatives and blood pressure medicines, can have side effects such as dizziness or lightheadedness, which increases the risk of falls. Talk to your health care provider if you are experiencing concerning side effects.  

9. Elevate your comfort: If you have mobility issues, use a raised toilet seat to reduce knee strain and make it easier to sit down and stand up from the toilet.

10. Gain control with a handheld showerhead: Handheld showerheads provide greater flexibility and control while bathing. You can wash hard-to-reach areas without having to move around as much. This can help minimize your risk of slipping or losing balance in the shower. 


Preventing bathroom falls in older adults requires a combination of proactive measures, environmental modifications and lifestyle changes. If you need a home assessment, ask your health care provider for advice, contact your local fire station or visit the National Council on Aging for resources.   

Remember, a few small changes can make a big difference in promoting a safe and secure environment for you or an older loved one. 

For more helpful tips, check out:

Senior Health Safety