Your home should be a place where you feel the safest. You should know that you can get around the house, doing what you have to do, without worrying you’re about to injure yourself. And that is the case for most of us. Most of us can pretty much do anything in our house without injuring ourselves. Going up and down the stairs, changing a light bulb or hopping in and out of a shower – we can do all those things with ease.
However, that might not be the case if we’re elderly or child. What the elderly and children have in common is that their balance is not the greatest, to say the least. That makes it difficult for them to do those seemingly easy tasks without tripping or falling. Falling for a senior citizen and an average adult is hardly the same. It is known that over 90% of the hip injuries and fractures that occur with the elderly are caused by simply falling. Just a few months ago, my grandma fell and broke both of her arms. Luckily for her, we were there to help her out for the next few months, but the truth is, that fall could’ve been prevented by simply installing a few grab bars in our bathroom.
Accidents happen, there’s no way around it. They might even happen with all our effort to prevent them. However, chances are significantly lower if we do the stuff that needs to be done. In the case of bathroom safety, that is installing grab bars.
Bathrooms are slippery – that’s a fact. Tiles do not absorb water and it’s really easy to slip and fall and badly injure yourself. Since you cannot really cover your bathroom and bathtub floors with carpet, you have to do something else. Although non-slippery mats can be placed in bathtubs, they’re not enough, we need more. If you don’t want to risk your grandma or grandpa falling, learn from my example and let me help you with this guide on how and where to place grab bars in your bathroom.
1. Choose the proper grab bar
When it comes to choosing the right grab bar there are several things to consider. Fortunately, a material is not one of those, since most grab bars are made out of stainless steel. Stainless steel will provide you with sturdiness, ability to withstand a lot of weight while also being very durable considering it won’t corrode from all the humidity and water.
Now, what are the differences between bars themselves? Mostly, the only thing that varies is the size. They usually come somewhere between 18 and 24 inches but are not limited to those dimensions only. Also, some bars may come with a textured surface for an easier grip in wet conditions. Texture also helps in case of the diagonally mounted bars which will get to in a second.
Choosing the right size and texture is very important and should not be overlooked. It’s equally as important to choose a quality model as much as it is important to install it properly and in the right place. A good place to start the search for the perfect fit would be this website.
2. Don’t pick the bars that are ‘easy’ to install
Some bars on the market are advertised as easy to install. Although that may be true, that usually means that they are attached to the surface by suction cups or some type of glue. They may be easy to mount and will do the job for a while, but, not for long. It’s not worth the risk of the fall just because you don’t have the tools to drill into a wall.
Now, let’s take a look at the best places to place a bar around a bathroom.
3. Place a bar near the toilet
Placing a bar near the toilet is really important. It is very easy to lose balance while trying to sit down or get up. Even young people can lose balance after they try to get up after a long time of sitting down. For elderly or disabled people, it’s hard all the time. Therefore, a grab bar should be placed near the toilet in one of the following places.
If the toilet is near a wall, or between the two, a small 18-inch or a U-shaped bar should be placed on either one or both of the walls. When placing them, make sure you take into consideration the height of the bar. You want to make it easily reachable from the toilet. If possible, have the person at hand sit at the toilet and measure the distance so it’s just right for them.
If your toilet does not have a wall close enough, you can have a toilet frame attached to the toilet itself or use a security pole. You can even mount a pole into the ground if you have to.
4. Place a bar at the shower entrance
If you have a standing shower, you should place a vertical bar close to the entrance of the shower stall. It should be easily reachable from both sides and consider using a textured finish to help with the grip when leaving the shower.
5. Place the bar on the wall
When inside the shower, you should have a grab bar placed horizontally along the wall near the faucet. This will make the showerhead and faucet easily accessible while still being able to hold on to the bar. If necessary, make the bar the length of the whole shower. That way it’ll be easier to walk wherever in the shower a person might be.
This also applies to bathtubs. A bar along the wall will provide the necessary help when standing in the tub or standing up from a lying position.
6. Place the bar along the edge of your bathtub
Bathtubs are the trickiest, they’re the most common cause of a fall in the bathroom. Since most of the tubs are above knee height, it’s hard to both enter and exit one. That is why there should be a grab bar along the edge of the tub, so you can have solid support when entering and exiting.
To sum it all up, the best place to mount a grab bar in the bathroom is around the places that are often slippery and hard to get in or out of. Nothing’s to say you cannot place a bar along every wall of the bathroom if that’s what it takes for someone to safely use it.