5 Facts to Know About Bathroom Grab Bars for the Elderly

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Owing to wet and slippery floors, a bathroom is one of the most accident-prone areas in the house, especially for older adults. Getting in and out of the tub or getting up from the toilet can be challenging for seniors with mobility issues. Furthermore, the bathroom is often slippery, which can cause falls even in seniors who do not have issues with mobility.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falling once doubles your chances of falling again. Injuries occur more frequently in and around the tub or shower, mostly because this area is always wet. Installing grab bars inside the bathroom can provide additional support to the elderly and prevent falls all together. 

This article outlines 5 key facts to know about bathroom grab bars for the elderly. Knowing these facts will help you choose the right bathroom grab bars and ensure they are positioned properly in your home.

Bathroom grab bars

Content Table

Facts To Know About Bathroom Grab Bars
Mount bathroom grab bars to wall studs, not sheetrock
Locate grab bars where they can best assist users:
Grab bars come in a wide variety of lengths and styles
Many grab bars meet or exceed ADA standards
Bathroom grab bars give the elderly independence and confidence
Final Thoughts
FAQ

Facts To Know About Bathroom Grab Bars

  • Mount bathroom grab bars to wall studs, not sheetrock:

  • A grab bar needs to be able to withstand at least 250 to 300 pounds of weight. Installing grab bars on the wall ensures stability and eliminates the possibility of the bars coming undone. However, sheetrock or drywall may not necessarily be able to hold the weight of the grab bar after being exposed to moisture in the bathroom over time.  

  • Locate grab bars where they can best assist users:

  • Most slips or falls are likely to occur near the shower, around the tub and near the toilet. Installing grab bars for the bathtub, toilet, and shower is the best way to prevent falls and slips. The height, angle and position of the grab bar depend entirely on the layout of your bathroom and the height of the person who uses it. If you have a shower and tub combination, as a rule, you must mount two bathtub safety rails in the bathroom. One should be about 8 to 10 inches above the rim of the tub, while the other should be parallel to it, about 33 to 36 inches from the base of the tub.

  • Grab bars come in a wide variety of lengths and styles

  • The “one size fits all” rule certainly does not apply to toilet and bathtub grab bars. Bathroom grab bars come in sizes from 9 to 42 inches. You can choose the size and shape that you need depending on your bathroom. You can also opt for grab bars that are rustic and chic. Even with grab bars installed in your bathroom, you can keep its aesthetic appeal intact. 

  • Many grab bars meet or exceed ADA standards

  • Most safety grab bars for bathtubs will come with a label to show that they meet ADA standards. For instance, the grab bar is of 18-gauge heavy-duty steel, the diameter of the bar would be around 1½ inches, the space between the wall and the grab bar should be about 1½ inches, and the grab bar should support at least 500 pounds of weight. We recommend you choose a grab bar that is ADA compliant. 

  • Bathroom grab bars give the elderly independence and confidence

  • Installing a bathroom grab bar can save a life. Knowing that there is equipment in place to provide support and stability can instill confidence in a senior who lives alone. Grab bars give the elderly their independence and dignity. 

    Another great option for bathroom safety is a step stool with handrails. A non-slip step stool with safety handrails makes getting in and out of the bathtub and shower safe and easy.

    Final Thoughts

    With the right knowledge, tools, and equipment, it is easy to make a home safe for seniors to live alone. Ensuring independence is important even as you age. It can ignite feelings of confidence and keep depression at bay. Read more about bathroom safety for seniors.

     

    FAQs

    Where is the best place to put grab bars in the bathtub?

    According to the ADA, you must install two grab bars in a bathtub. If the bathtub has a permanent seat, install the two bars parallel to each other on the back wall. If the bathtub does not have a permanent seat, install two grab bars on the back wall and one bar on the control wall.

    Should grab bars be vertical or horizontal?

    Install vertical grab bars along the door of the shower in the bathroom. You can also install a vertical bar near the faucet handles of the shower. Other grab bars can be horizontal and installed on the back wall and control wall of the shower in compliance with ADA recommendations.

    How do you install a grab bar without drilling?

    Specific ADA compliant grab bars are available in the market that do not require drilling. You can also consider a step stool for the tub with handrails and a non-slip surface if you do not want to drill into your bathroom walls.

    What is a tub safety bar?

    A tub safety bar is nothing but a bathroom grab bar installed into the walls near the tub to help people get in and out of the bath safely.

    How do you put a safety bar in a bathtub?

    Install grab bars on the back wall and control wall of the bathtub area. According to ADA recommendations, you should install two bars on the back wall of the tub, parallel to each other. You can also consider a step stool for the tub with handrails and a non-slip surface if you do not want to drill into your bathroom walls.

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