The Price of A Fall: Bath Safety for Denver Residents
36 million. That’s how many falls are reported each year among adults 65+. That means 1 in 4 adults will experience a fatal or non-fatal fall this year, and you or a loved one could be next. In 2017, the Association of Health Care Journalists calculated the cost of a fall for adults 65 and older was $30,000 on average. And that’s from an injury.
Around 36 million falls are reported each year, resulting in 32,000 deaths (that’s 87 deaths a day!). By state, here are some fall-related death rates from 2021:
- Colorado: 920
- Arizona: 1,005
- Georgia: 771
- Illinois: 1,200
- New York: 1,651
- Tennessee: 862
- See full list.
In this article, we’ll dive into Denver, CO specific fall injury and death rates, the types of falls, main causes of falls, and safety features to add to your “Colorful Colorado” bathroom to prevent a fall.
COLORADO FALL INJURIES
Let’s look closer into Colorado and break down some more numbers. Since CO has a fall-related death rate well above the U.S. average, this information is key to understanding fall prevention. To reiterate, 920 fall-related deaths were reported in Colorado in 2021. According to the Denver Regional Council of Governments, more than 4,500 residents who are 65+ in the Denver area land in the hospital due to a fall injury each year, accounting for almost half of the 10,000 fall injuries in the entire state of CO. Of those injuries, half led to permanent, ongoing care in a nursing home or assisted living facility.
And don’t get us started on nursing home costs. In Colorado, the average cost of a private room in a nursing home is $9,726/month. That’s $116,712 a year, plus the medical bills we’ve already gone over! Assisted living isn’t any better, sitting at $4,750/month in 2021.
While this is just one example, fall related injuries leading to long-term care is a growing epidemic in the United States. You, your parents, your grandparents, are all in danger of falling as you age. It’s what you do to prevent falls that matters most, and we’d like to help you with that.
THE 4 TYPES OF FALLS
Not all falls are created equal. While the origin of a fall is the same, losing balance and descending to the ground, etc., there are different types of falls that can happen to anyone. Knowing the different types might just save your life! Let’s go over the different types of falls, as defined by ADL Balance:
- Tips happen when standing in place, going to lean or reach for something, and as a result, falling.
- Trips happen when your foot hits an object on the ground, causing you to fall over it.
- Slips happen when you step onto a smooth or wet surface, causing you to slide forward and eventually fall to the ground.
- Drops happen suddenly, when your hip gives out or your knee buckles.
Falls can be prevented, especially in the case of objects in the way, wet floors, or some other hazard. While it may seem daunting to read, it’s important to educate yourself on the types, causes, and preventative measures when it comes to falls—otherwise, you could end up in a sticky (or slippery) situation.
CAUSES OF FALL INJURIES AND DEATHS
The number and costs of falls are only growing. As we age, it is not only harder to stabilize ourselves, but other changes in our body make us weaker and more susceptible to injury. The most common causes of fatal and non-fatal falls include decreases in eyesight, reflexes, conditions like heart disease, dementia, and safety hazards.
80% of in-home falls happen in the bathroom. Whether you or a loved one is headed to use the toilet, shower, or sink, a lack of safety features puts you at risk for a tip, trip, or slip. Your bathtub may be too deep to get in and out of, or getting down to the toilet seat is proving to be more difficult than usual. Instead of facing a $30,000 medical bill due to a fall, installing safety features in your Denver bathroom could save you or a loved one’s life.
WHAT SAFETY FEATURES ARE AVAILABLE FOR A BATHROOM?
Investing in a safe bathroom is something that could save you tens of thousands of dollars down the road, and ultimately your life. The bathroom is full of danger (that’s a little dramatic, but it’s kind of true!). It’s wet, it’s humid, hot showers cause fog which may make it hard to see, and bathroom floors are often slippery on their own. The argument could be made that installing bathroom safety features is important for all ages. At the end of the day, everyone can fall and injure themselves!
Here are our favorite safety features to install in the bathroom, at any age:
Installing grab bars make getting up and down from the toilet or in and out of the bathtub easier for you or a loved one.
A built-in shower chair provides stability and ease of bathing, so you can take a break from standing or bathe completely sitting down!
BUILT IN SHELVES
To avoid toiletries from falling, making it easy to slip and fall, you can install shelves into your shower wall.
Non-Slip Shower Floor
Shower and bathtub floors are slippery. Installing a non-slip floor or buying a grippy floor mat fixes the dangerous environment and leaves you at ease as you’re bathing.
Low-Barrier Shower Entry
To eliminate stepping in and out of a bathtub altogether, you can convert your tub into a walk-in shower.
It’s important to know the resources available to you when it comes to fall prevention and safety—especially when that knowledge can prevent serious injury or death. While the costs of some of these safety measures might be overwhelming, the long-term cost of an injury outweighs the one-time remodeling or renovation bill.
THE TRUE COST
Ultimately, a $30,000 medical bill is going to hurt a lot more (literally) than a renovation bill. With the rise in fall-related injuries and deaths among adults, you can never be too safe when it comes to preventing a fall. Staying educated on the types of falls, the most common causes, and what you can do to prevent them is the most important thing you can do for you and your loved ones.
If you like the idea of installing safety features in your bathroom, West Shore Home® is the bathroom remodel expert to call. Specializing in bath & shower installation, tub to shower conversions, and tub & shower combinations, the design consultants and installers have extensive expertise in bathroom styles, materials, accessibility features, and quality of life considerations for the whole family.
If project cost is a concern, our consultants will work with you to find financing to fit your needs. We also offer awesome perks, including:
- One-Day Installation
- Ongoing Promotional Offers to Fit Your Budget
- Free Quote & In-Home Design Consultation
- Full Removal of Your Old Bath or Shower Included
- Lifetime Warranty
We provide trained professionals to get you started with financing needs, and any concerns you might have around cost. Contact us today to get started on your bathroom remodel and keep you and your family safe from a fall-related injury or death. We service bath remodels right in the Mile High City!
DENVER FALL-RELATED INJURY AND DEATH RESOURCES
Denver Regional Council of Governments
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention