When it comes to fall prevention in the home for seniors, the bathroom can be the focus of a number of safety measures. One precaution easy to overlook is the value of installing an anti-scald valve in the shower. Most homes built in the last few decades have been required by building codes to be constructed with anti-scald valves in place. Many of those homes in which you grew up and that your aging parents aren’t too keen to leave may not offer such protection, however.
The safety of anti-scald shower valves is easy to see as they relate to issues of burns, but how would installation become an agent in the service of fall prevention? Just think back to how many times you have reflexively stepped quickly backward to remove yourself from a sudden, unexpected blast of scalding water from the shower head? The culprit may have been a toilet, sink, washing machine or dishwasher used elsewhere in the home. Or maybe you just forgot to check the temperature of the water before stepping blindly into the tub.
Whatever the reason, the reality is that the evolutionary imperative to preserve our body from the damage caused by exposing our skin to scalding water may paradoxically doom us to an even worse fate. It is never a good idea to try moving swiftly in the slippery conditions of a shower and the danger multiplies as we age. Not only does trying to move away from a sudden blast of scalding shower water present the very real possibility of injury as the result of a fall for seniors, but also the catastrophic consequence of the scalding water now falling freely on someone now incapable of getting back up.
How installing an anti-scald shower valve becomes a remarkably useful tool in the battle for fall prevention becomes much clearer when viewed from this hypothetical, but all too common perspective. The best news is that retrofitting an existing shower head in older homes without anti-scald prevention no longer means major construction work.
Fall prevention through installation of an anti-scald shower valve used to require tearing a hole through the wall and the services of a plumber. Those looking to make the homes of their aging parents safer by prevention falls now have the much easier option of replacing the existing showerhead with a new model equipped with an anti-scald valve. Any time the water flowing through these types of showerheads reaches a dangerous temperature level, the flow is instantly reduced to a trickle. Once the water has cooled back down to a safe temperature, pressure returns to normal.