Bathrooms and toilets are one of the most accident-prone areas in the house for seniors. Even more so in India where most bathrooms and toilets are perennially wet. The vision of a loved one falling in the bathroom haunts caregivers, because such an accident can result in serious injuries or even be fatal. For seniors with limited mobility, chances of such accidents happening is greater. Maintaining independence and dignity is important as we all get older, especially when it comes to using the bathroom. Luckily, there are several bathroom aids that could safeguard your loved ones well-being, grab bars for seniors being one the easiest solutions.
Why Grab Bars for Seniors?
Grab bars greatly reduce the risk of accidents. They are not only inexpensive but also easy to install. Grab bars gives elders something sturdy to hold onto while they sit or stand. The fact that you have installed something to hold on adds to the elderly’s feeling of safety.
Also, these are highly versatile products. They can be used to support the senior’s weight and can be installed in other areas outside the bathroom, too. These include near commodes, near the bed or any place where seniors finding it difficult to stand up. This will make it easier for seniors to get about and prevent unwanted falls.
Who should use grab bars, is it only for seniors?
Not only elderly persons benefit but it helps all as a tool to prevent falls in this high risk area, whether you have any issues with mobility and balance or not.
Where to Place the Grab Bars
There are three ways of placing a grab bar; horizontal, vertical and diagonal. It largely depends on the user, horizontal bar offers a better means for seniors to slowly raise their body. Vertical bars near shower and faucet is a useful regardless of the person’s height. Finally, mounting a grab bar diagonally (tilted at a 45-degree angle) is also a popular option.
The best way to go about it is to test which configuration suits the best by checking where and how the user reaches for support before actually fixing it. Check which height is comfortable and mark the area for fixing the bars.
Types and Sizes
Bathroom grab bars generally come in metal and plastic. The most common metal types are stainless steel or nickel. Often the bathroom grab bar purchased at a hardware store is powder-coated or stainless steel. Bathroom grab bars can also be angled or L-shaped.
The most typical sizes for straight grab bars are 12″, 16″, 18″, 24″ and 32″.
Things to Know Before You Shop
- Avoid mounting grab bars on fragile surface such as an acrylic tub.
- If the user lacks dexterity or grip strength, choose smaller-diameter bars.
- Grab bars can be placed vertically or horizontally so you can mount them either way.
- Other safety measures include non-slip mats, shower chairs and toilet safety rails.
Recommended Grab Bars
How to Fit
Handyman, plumber or a family member can easily install the grab bars. Ensure that there no water or electric lines running at the points you want to install the bar. Proper bathroom assessment is advisable before installation.
Look out for
Installing grab bars for seniors will help those with balance and mobility issues. It won’t help those who lose consciousness. In such cases, ensure someone attends to them while using the bathroom or toilet.