Where to Install Grab Bars
In order to age in place and prevent falls, we should guard our home as effectively as possible from trip hazards and other obstacles in our walking path. But what if a fall happens? Enter grab bars – they are there so you can catch yourself if you slip or trip before you fall! We all know that grab bars are essential if you or your elder wants to age in place and stay in their home for as long as possible. But where should you have bars?
1) In And Around Your Tub Or Shower:
About 70% of household accidents happen in one particular room, so most grab bars will be placed there, in or near the tub or shower, and by the toilet. And if you want to know where on your wall to install them, all ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant buildings need grab bars to be 33 to 36 inches from the ground. The bar should also cover as much of the wall as possible where you install it. For your tub or shower, the most crucial places to install grab bars are on either side of your bath or shower – bath and shower floors are very slippery so having a grab bar at both entry points to the tub will help you or your elder get in without slipping. Also place at least one long one diagonally pointing towards the back of the tub or shower (the higher part should be closer to the faucet). For showers, you should have more: one at seat-level and one at standing level wherever you enter, exit, or sit in a tub chair.
Here is a great video detailing how to use grab bars in your tub or shower:
2) Around the Toilet:
There are two essential places around your toilet where you should install grab bars: One anchored to the wall, either horizontally at sitting level (33 inches from the ground) or vertically in reaching distance from the toilet. Like with the shower grab bars, cover as much space as possible on the wall to maximize reach. The other place is to install a flip-up grab bar which can be moved to reach the toilet, but used when standing or sitting. Some grab bars can double as toilet paper rolls (But be sure it is also a grab bar before using)!
Remember, since grab bars are intended to hold someone’s entire weight, buy medically certified products only and NEVER substitute towel bars or other home hardware for grab bars! Also keep in mind that every bathroom and home is different when planning on the layout of your grab bars. Read the instructions and be sure the bar can hold a person’s weight before using – that way, you or your elder can age in place as long as possible!