As we age, the bathroom can become a tricky place. The inability to get around as well as we once could, mixed with wet, slippery surfaces can create a dangerous combination. Falls can cause everything from bruises to broken bones to serious head injuries.
The possibility of injuring yourself that seriously can be deeply concerning. But, fortunately, grab bars in the bathroom can make it safer for you and help you to maintain your freedom just that much longer.
The fear of falling and getting hurt can keep you from doing a lot of things – including taking a bath. People can become reluctant to bathe or shower as often as they should because they don’t want to run the risk of getting hurt. Poor hygiene can create infections and skin problems. It’s important for overall good health as we get older to bathe twice a week at the very least. Installing grab bars in your shower can give you the confidence and stability you need to bathe every day, reducing the chance of infections.
The shower or bathtub isn’t the only place where falls can occur. Sitting down and getting off the toilet can cause you to take a tumble as well. Sometimes, it’s just because we are getting older and our balance isn’t as good as it once was.
Being able to live in your home and maintain your independence as long as possible is important. It’s difficult to feel like you’re losing your quality of life by having to ask family and friends for help with things you didn’t need help with before. But small changes like adding grab bars to your bathroom can prolong your independence, your quality of life and freedom to continue living as you have been.
Grab bars are a relatively inexpensive way to make bathing easier – allowing you to take care of your hygiene yourself and not have to ask for help to do that either.
Grab bars have a simple design but are incredibly versatile and are the most effective way to be safe in the bathroom. There are many different types of grab bars:
- Fixture type (built into toilet paper holder, soap dish, towel rack)
- Slide with handheld shower head
- Grab bar clamps
- Flip up and flip down grab bars
- Floor to ceiling poles
- Angled grab bars
- Corner grab bars for two walls
- Suction cup grab bars (though we do not recommend these)
Most of them are made of stainless steel (white or silver) so they won’t corrode from all the water that gets on them. Grab bars come in a variety of sizes – some are as small as nine inches or as long as 36 inches. The most common sizes are 18 and 24 inches and are one and a half inch in diameter, so it easily fits in your hand.
Grab bars can range in price. They start as low as 18 dollars but can cost as much as 200 or more, depending on the brand and type you get.
There are very few companies nationally that will sell and install the grab bars. Kohll’s is the company that offers this service in Nebraska and Iowa. You can also just purchase the grab bar from Kohll’s and you install it.
It’s important to make sure the grab bars are in the most effective place in your bathroom. To figure that out, you can start by climbing in and out of your tub or shower without the water. Pay attention to where you place your hands for support. Those are the places you should mount a grab bar. The bars should not just go in the tub, be sure and put one on the wall as close to the tub as possible to help you get in and out. An experienced grab bar installer can easily recommend the best place for installation.
An experienced grab bar installer can generally install a grab bar in any type of surface including ceramic tile. It’s not necessary to have to hit the studs, especially if the studs are not in the optimum place for the grab bars. An experienced grab bar installer will use the secure mount system and not be required to hit a stud.
If you fall in the bathroom and hurt yourself, it can cause you to fear going back in or, depending on the injury, force you out of your independence. It’s better to be proactive, to ensure neither of those things happen. A simple choice to installing grab bars in your bathroom will help you maintain your balance and stability and give you the peace of mind you need to be able to shower and use the toilet without being afraid of falling.