Different assistive devices can provide relief and aid for individuals who currently struggle with mobility issues or a disability. Understanding some of these devices and best practices are when things can get somewhat more confusing. Which devices you should be looking for and which devices you ultimately purchase can make a world of difference in your everyday life. This makes the knowledge and understanding of the various assistive devices offered to seniors essential. For today’s post, I wanted to cover all the common question that arise concerning grab bars for your bathroom. What are shower grab bars and how do they work? Here is what I know and can tell you on this subject.
So, what are grab bars? Grab bars are a device that is specifically designed to help individuals with disabilities, mobility and balance issues remain safe and add additional stability and balance. Grab bars strive to eliminate falls due to a loss of balance or a slip. Popular places where typically see grab bars located would include bedside mounted to a wall or in a bathroom located in the shower, near the shower, or near the toilet.
More About Grab Bars and How They Can Provide Relief
Accidental slips and falling are one thing that anyone with mobility issues has a great fear of. It’s understandable. A fall could be devastating in some scenarios and cause significant injuries or possibly even death. Unfortunately, they are the most common cause of injuries and death in elderly individuals.
Grab bars placed in useful places can help eliminate this fear and problem substantially. Not to mention, maintaining freedom and a sense of pride are additional perks that grab bars can provide to individuals with mobility issues or other disabilities.
Some seniors or individuals with mobility problems even neglect primary needs such as taking a bath and cleansing themselves because of this fear. We are all aware that poor hygiene can cause other health issues in addition to potential infections and skin irritation.
With the proper installation and use of grab bars, maintaining adequate hygiene becomes much less intimidating and seniors can begin practicing proper hygiene without the fear or injury.
Where Should Grab Bars Be Placed in A Bathroom?
To gain the full benefits when using grab bars, you need to understand the placement and the different kinds of grabs bars that are available to you. To get started, it’s essential to know that grab bars are most commonly going to be used in three locations.
Near a toilet, near your tub or shower and sometimes (less frequently) grab bars will be placed near a bed to assist with getting in and out of bed.
Grab bars also come in various shapes or styles that can assist you differently with each use. Let’s break down those different styles and options you can choose from next.
The Options You Have with Grab Bars and the Versatility
Grab bars are commonly going to come with three options. Within these three options, you will have a few other styles that are primarly for decorative use and don’t add much in the form of stability or relief. Here is a look at them.
Horizontal Grab Bars
The names given to the grab bars to a good job making them self-explanatory to understand. A horizontal grab bar is going to be mounted horizontally or “east to west.”
Very similar to the straight grab bars. Horizontal grab bars don’t provide as much hand and joint relief but are great if you have a few feet to cover when exiting or entering the bathtub. They will allow you to take several steps while maintaining a grip on the grab as you walk. This helps dramatically when you have a larger bathroom or need those few extra feet to reach a wheelchair or other assistive device.
Vertical Grab Bars
Vertical grab bars are the most comfortable grab bar to grip with your hands. They provide the most comfort for grabbing and cater to individuals with joint issues or painful arthritis.
A common downfall you find with vertical grab bars; however, is the fact that they don’t cover much horizontal square footage which limits their ability to render aid while walking or taking several steps.
At best, vertical grab bars are great for pulling yourself up from a toilet or bathtub, but if you have balance issues and need the ability to walk a few steps with relief, you would want to look for something more such as the horizontal grab bar.
Straight Grab Bars
Straight grab bars are simple. Perhaps the easiest grab bar to install and the most commonly purchased style of grab bars. They are exactly as they sound. A straight bar mounted into the wall almost resembling a towel rack but with more weight capacity and typically anchored into the wall.
Straight grab bars can be mounted either horizontally, vertically or angled.
That covers the primary forms of grab bars, but within these categories, you still have a few choices. Let’s look at those options now.
Other Styles and Options of Grab Bars
Wave Grab Bars
Wave grab bars are going to serve the same purpose and have the same functionality as your straight grab bar. The wave grab bar is merely an upgrade for style and decoration.
Nothing more. You don’t get afforded any additional balance or relief purchasing a wave grab bar, so the only purpose is to spice up and make that bathroom look a bit flashier.
Corner Grab Bars
Corner grab bars I believe are one of the most beneficial and practical uses for a grab bar. They can be used where two walls meet inside the bathroom or the shower. They will provide a little additional balance in the fact that you can pivot and turn your body while still holding the bar while exiting the bathtub.
Instead of mounting in two studs along the same wall, a corner grab bar is going to mount into joist or studs into 2 adjacent walls at a 90-degree angle.
Final Word, Grab Bars Come with Many Options. Consider Your Room and Needs First
The most important thing you need to consider when purchasing a grab bar is its practical use and what will provide you the most relief entering the bathroom or getting in and out of the shower. Sometimes you will need a combination of assistive devices.
Many individuals will have grabs bars installed in the bathroom in addition to a shower chair or a transfer bench. The entire goal is to avoid slips, injuries and other problematic scenarios that individuals with mobility or disabilities encounter.
At the end of the day, if you are being provided the relief you need to live your everyday life with less dependence on others is what’s it’s all about. What’re your thoughts on grab bars? Do you have any recommendations for the readers? Be sure to drop a comment below.