A new concern for seniors and that night-time trip to the toilet….

May 22, 2010 at 8:04 am Leave a comment

My first reaction when hearing the story about ‘cancer danger of that night-time trip to the toilet’, was disbelief.  My second reaction was, how will this information impact seniors that take multiple trips to the bathroom at night?

As an Occupational Therapist, when I am completing a home safety evaluation, one of the biggest concerns is bathroom safety.  I look at how to modify the environment to decrease chance of slips and falls, as well as to promote overall safety with navigation to, from, and within the space throughout the day.  This includes the nightly trip to the bathroom.  One of the suggestions is to turn on a light to help with illuminating a safe path to the bathroom at night.  

When designing for Aging-In-Place, lighting is a very important consideration.  As we age, our eyes change.  The eyes allows less light to enter, it takes longer for our eyes to transition in different light levels, and we become more sensitive to glare.  A 60-year-old needs ten times as much light as a normal 20-year-old to perform the same task.  Use of a night-light is an option, but will not provide sufficient amount of light, alone, to maximize safe navigation to the bathroom at night.  Due to this new research, do we now have to weigh the benefits of a safe pathway over the possibility of cancer formation?

Do you think this information will impact how seniors make their nightly trip to the bathroom?  

Do you think that it may increase falls at night?

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Entry filed under: Aging-In-Place design, Home Safety. Tags: , , , , , , .

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