As one of the most frequently used rooms in the home, the bathroom also happens to be the most dangerous. Among older adults, 80% of falls happen in the bathroom. With slippery surfaces everywhere you turn, it should be essential to make the bathroom as safe as possible. 

One of the most helpful types of equipment for slippery bathrooms is the grab bar. They’re becoming more commonplace near toilets and in showers and bathtubs — especially among residents who wish to age in place, as well as those who need accessibility-friendly modifications in their homes. 

You can find a variety of types of grab bars and numerous brands to choose from. We’ve compiled a buying guide to help you find the best kind of grab bar for your bathroom.  

Grab Bar Guidelines

The Americans with Disabilities Act provides specific standards for the size, make, and installation requirements of grab bars. However, these standards aren’t required for private residences. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends grab bars for the inside of a tub or shower, directly outside a tub or shower, and next to the toilet. These strategic placements provide more stable maneuverability in the bathroom, targeting the two places where falls are most likely to occur. 

Types of Grab Bars

Grab bars come in a variety of styles and sizes, but the type you may need for your bathroom depends on where they need to be placed, the size and layout of the bathroom, budget, and other factors. If you have questions about which grab bar(s) will work best for you, contact the team at Omicelo Health, who can guide you through the selection process. 

Wall-Mounted Grab Bars

The most common types of grab bars are those mounted securely to the wall, preferably attached to wall studs or with wall anchors. When installed properly, these grab bars should be sturdy and able to withstand a person’s body weight. 

Wall-mounted grab bars come in many lengths and sizes and can be installed horizontally, vertically, or diagonally depending on the design of the bathroom and the needs or limitations of the users.

Folding Grab Bars

For smaller bathrooms or tight spaces, folding grab bars provide added flexibility and stability. Also mounted securely to the wall, these bars are able to move into place whenever needed and folded or swung out of the way when done.

Bathtub-Mounted Grab Bars

These handy grab bars slide over the top edge of the bathtub wall and use adjustable clamps to keep the bars securely in place. They provide support when stepping in and out of the tub.

Suction Grab Bars

Intended as a temporary solution for traveling or nonpermanent injuries, these grab bars attach to non-porous surfaces such as tiles. Suction grab bars are designed to help with balance and not for supporting a person’s entire weight. Omicelo Health does not recommend using grab bars with suction cups.  

Mobile Grab Bars

Similar to walkers, this stand-alone equipment is best used for providing stability support when sitting down on or standing up from a toilet seat. They’re lightweight but sturdy, and many can also be used as walkers.

Best Grab Bars for Bathrooms

Choosing the best grab bars for your bathroom depends on your unique needs and type of bathroom. Be aware of the following tips when selecting and installing the right type of grab bar for your home. 

Check the Weight Limitations

The materials, design, and placement of a grab bar can limit the capacity of weight it can bear, so make sure you know how much weight any grab bar is capable of sustaining. It’s potentially lifesaving equipment, so be sure it can handle the job. 

Follow the Manufacturer’s Guidelines

The makers of grab bars have performed tests and quality control measures to ensure that their equipment is safe. Pay close attention to the installation instructions and follow them precisely. A grab bar that can fall off the wall is a useless grab bar; in fact, it can make the situation even more dangerous. 

Hire a Professional to Install It

Unless you or a friend are trained and experienced with installing hardware and equipment, it’s best to hire a professional handyman or carpenter to install your grab bars for you. The added expense for labor is worth the safety of your loved ones. 

Where to Buy Grab Bars

These days, grab bars can be found in many stores, including hardware, home improvement, and medical supply stores, as well as online retailers such as Amazon. Expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $100 for a grab bar, depending on the type you buy. 

Contact Omicelo Health with Questions

The team at Omicelo Health is here to guide you through the process of selecting, sourcing, and installing home modifications. Our mission is to help residents and homeowners age in place in their own homes while maintaining their mobility, independence, and dignity. 

We’re happy to answer your questions! Just contact us and we’ll walk you through it step by step.

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