As we grow older, bathrooms can become tricky; the slick surfaces, combined with mobility issues, can be dangerous. Therefore, bathroom slips and falls are common for seniors, causing head injuries, broken bones, and bruising.
Fortunately, grab bars are a simple and essential solution that helps alleviate any safety concerns. They come in all shapes and sizes, allowing you to incorporate them into any bathroom seamlessly!
You will find plenty of choices with a simple trip to your hardware store or home center. Buy one and avoid becoming one of the 3 million seniors who, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), are treated for fall-related injuries in emergency rooms.
Here are seven of the best grab bar locations and uses to consider.
Bathroom Grab Bar Locations and Uses to Consider (Improve Your Senior’s Safety)
1. Toilet Grab Bars
Toilet grab bars should be fitted on both the wall behind the toilet and the side wall closest to it. The side grab bar facilitates exiting a wheelchair. It also helps people with mobility and stability issues with standing and sitting on the toilet.
The side grab bar should be at least 32 inches long and extend at least 12 inches past the front of the toilet bowl.
On the other hand, the rear grab bar helps caretakers assist a patient in sitting or standing. These should be set up horizontally, 33 to 36 inches off the floor. All grab bars should be firmly installed into the wall stud for the greatest stability and level of safety.
2. Shower Grab Bars
Showers are slippery, making grab bars particularly vital. At a minimum, we advise installing two grab bars at the entrance and side wall.
The side grab bar should be horizontal, installed slightly above waist-high (34-36 inches) along the side wall. It should be reached easily when showering.
The entrance bar should be vertical and about 4-6″ inward from the entrance. It helps when transitioning between the bathroom floor and the shower floor. For advanced safety, I recommend two additional options: The front wall grab bar and the back wall grab bar.
The first helps steady the person bathing as they adjust the shower head and water flow. The latter helps support bathers as they move along the back wall. All of these improve safety when showering and act as an aid when getting in and out of a bath.
3. Soap Dish Grab Bars
These are incorporated into soap dishes and serve as a stable handhold. They are stylish, combining safety and aesthetics.
They can be installed at a lower level on the wall and used to support you as you push yourself up to a standing position from a bath seat. They can also be installed strategically near the entrance to help you as you step into and out of your bathtub or shower.
4. Shelf Grab Bars
If you hate the sight of unsightly grab bars, this one is for you. Bathroom shelves are designed to make the grab bar disappear into space. Most people looking at them can’t tell there’s a grab bar around.
With such a grab bar, you can store things like shampoo bottles and shower gels or bulkier items like towels while supporting yourself if you have mobility issues.
5. Bathtub Grab Bar Clamps
This grab bar clips to the bathtub wall and offers a useful handhold for stepping into and out of the tub. Installation usually requires turning a dial until the clamp secures the bar against the tub wall sufficiently to hold the bar in place.
As a result, there is no need for formal drilling or installation, but you must ensure that the model is suitable for your tab material and the width of its wall.
Note that you shouldn’t use this grab bar to support and transfer all your weight. It may come apart from the tub wall if moved sideways. That’s why I recommend coupling it with other permanently installed grab bars.
6. Floor To Ceiling Grab Bars
These provide safe, secure support when sitting, standing, or transferring a loved one to a wheelchair or walker. They are installed near the toilet and bathtub. They can also be placed in other rooms in a home.
The best feature of these is that there is no height restriction. Given that these supports are attached to both the floor and the ceiling, they can support you whether you are at a low or high level.
It’s also important to note that they easily fit into small areas because they have a slim design.
7. 2-Wall Grab Bars: Corner & 90-Degrees
If there isn’t much room in your bathroom, these kinds of bars will come in handy. They are especially useful if you bathe while seated in a bathtub or shower chair. They can support you in two directions, taking up minimal space.
The standard construction of corner grab bars is one continuous component that attaches to your walls on both sides.
A 90-degree bar, on the other hand, is an L-shaped grab bar frequently fixed to the front wall of a shower or bathtub so that you can use the horizontal section to balance yourself once within the tub or shower stall.
On the other hand, the vertical part is used to step into and out of the tub or shower.
Choosing The Right Grab Bar for Your Bathroom
Choosing the ideal grab bar for your home might be challenging with many available options. That’s why you should start by determining where you need it and how it will help you.
Look at your open space from here, and finally, consider your style. That way, you can ensure you have the right grab bar.
Having a solid object to hold onto in a slick, wet environment just makes practical sense, regardless of age or ability! That’s the only way to get the best value from your grab bar. Remember, they’re not exclusively for the elderly.
After all, let’s face it, when bending over to dry our feet or take off our pants, we all reach out to use the traditional towel bars for balance. That said, pick one or several of these and make your bathroom safer!