Home safety is vital for the elderly and disabled. According to the National Council on Aging:
- One in four older Americans fall every year
- Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+
Grab Bar Safety tips
Grab Bar Height
As a general rule, in ADA compliant bathrooms, grab bars are installed 33-inches to 36-inches off the floor.
Grab Bar Length
Grab bars should be as long as practical. In showers they should cover as much of the shower wall as possible. There should be at least one grab bar on each wall.
Grab Bar Location
Every situation is different, but a grab bar mounted in the wrong place is useless. Have the person using the grab bar help decide which location is most convenient. If you’re still uncertain, a physical therapist or occupational therapist may also be helpful with this decision.
The following are some locations where grab bars can enhance safety
- Outside of the Tub or Shower: A vertically mounted grab bar outside of the tub or shower entry is excellent for maintaining balance when stepping in and out of a wet surface.
- Towel Bars: When you are about to fall you’ll grab for anything close. Often it’s the towel bar - unfortunately they won’t support you. Make towel bars safer by replacing them with grab bars.
- Floor Level Changes: One step between the kitchen and the living room can be hazardous. Consider a grab bar along the wall adjacent to the step.
- Stairwells: Climbing a flight of stairs can be exhausting, especially for seniors suffering from balance or mobility issues. A grab bar at the top and bottom of the stairwell can provide that extra support and a needed place to rest.
- Exterior Stairs: Especially with outside weather, two or three steps can be dangerous. A grab bar mounted near the door frame can be a life saver.
- Dressing & Closet Areas: It’s not unusual to trip on your pant leg while getting dressed in the morning. Installing a grab bar next to the dressing area can provide added stability for the senior while he or she is getting dressed.
- Hallways: A grab bar mounted in a long hallway or one that has sharp turns is a great resting stop for seniors.
- Toilet Area: Even with the new higher toilets it can be difficult process to get up. Mounting a grab bar in close proximity can make it easy to stand while maintaining steadiness.