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  • In My Home Assistance

Grab Bars - How to determine the right size and height and places to mount them.

When making a home safer for aging in place one of the most affordable modifications is placing grab bars in bathrooms and other areas. Bathrooms are the most common place for slips and falls and getting in and out of shows or getting the extra help with toileting make life that much easier and provides added stability in these places.

When determining where to place these and at what height is most important. The ADA guidelines can help, but for a homeowner these are just guidelines and grab bars are installed for you and/or loved ones and can be tailored to your height and preference in a location that feels comfortable and secure.

Before deciding on placement it is helpful to go through the motions of the bathroom routine to see where it is natural to reach for extra support and note those locations. Most important is selecting a height for the grab bars for the person using them. Someone small and petit might benefit from bars that are much lower than a tall person would use. If the grab bar is not in the ideal position and location it might be more awkward and not likely to be used.

Grab bars may be placed vertically for example when entering a shower or stepping over a threshold or bathtub. These bars are longer and have more flexibility as far as what height they could be placed. it is also helpful to sit down if you are using a bench or getting up from the tub (or when toileting) and seeing where you would need to reach to pull yourself up or add stability when getting back on your feet. Or you could place a longer horizontal grab bar against the shower wall in case you need extra support and have something to hold onto over a longer area and have this always within reach. Bars can also be placed at an angle.

If you are physically able to go through the routine without any assistance, completing this exercise as if you were tired, weak, or feeling dizzy can give you useful results as the placement needed. We are also glad to work with your occupational therapist (OT), who can conduct an assessment and develop a personal plan for your home modification that will improve your safety in the necessary areas and keeps you in your home as long as possible. With our array of choices in grab bars we can keep your home looking great or even better while doing this if desired.

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