Co-authored and Co-produced with Teri Rothenberger OTR/L
Are you ready for grab bars?
Have you noticed that your balance is off a little? Do you need a bar to support your body weight to get in and out of the shower?
Grab bars increase your safety and decrease your risk of falling. We put together a short video to demonstrate safe grab bar placement for a shower stall.
Grab bar types:
There are a variety of materials that grab bars are made out of including stainless steel, nylon over stainless steel, and plastic to meet your decorative needs.
2) Wall Mounted or Suction Cup
The safest grab bars are the ones that are installed by a professional into the wall studs. If you need to support your body weight or pull up on the grab bar, then you need a permanent grab bar mounted into the wall stud. There are times when a wall mount is not feasible and then you can use the suction cup grab bars. The suction cup grab bars are used more for balance.
Grab bars vary in length from 10 inches to 48 inches. The longer the bar the more area you have to grip the bar to use from a variety of positions. When determining the length you need, remember the wall mounts should be on a flat surface.
You will have a choice of a smooth finish versus textured finish. A textured grab bar might make it easier to grip when wet.
A grab bar that is a different color than the shower wall color will make it easier to see and reach for quickly in case you lose your balance.
Varying diameters are available. Choose the diameter that is easier for you to grip.
Vertical placed bars are used at the edge of the shower wall or outside the shower to assist with getting in and out of the shower. Horizontal or 45 degree angle placed bars are used when standing for stability and if sitting to pull yourself up or help lower you down.
Things to remember:
- Towel bars and door knobs are NOT grab bars.
- If you use the suction cup grab bar, the suction cup has to fit fully on the flat part of the tile. The suction cup will not stick over the grout, curved areas, or textured tile.
- Make sure the surface is clean before placing the suction cups on the shower wall.
- Avoid mounting permanent grab bars on acrylic tub surrounds that stand out from the drywall underneath as this may bend and flex the wall.
- Grab bars can be found at your local medical or hardware supply store.
Special Thanks to Sacred Heart Villa Independent Living and Personal Care Community in Reading, Pennsylvania.
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