Grab Bars 101

jjue July 1st, 2010, 8:48 PM
Jeffrey Jue, PT, Rehabilitation Consultant
Author Profile

GrabbarGrab bars are valuable in helping the elderly prevent falls in the bathroom. A few questions I normally ask before I recommend the installation of a set of grab bars are:

  1. Do you have difficulty getting in and out of the tub or shower?
  2. Do you use the towel rack or sink for support?
  3. If you use a shower seat, do you have trouble getting on and off it?
  4. Have you recently fallen while taking a shower?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, installing grab bars may be a good idea.

Grab Bar Recommendations

  • Grab bars can be ordered and professionally installed by a medical supply vendor
  • For the tub installation, I usually order a long horizontal bar along the longer wall and a short vertical bar along the shorter wall closest to the shower head
  • Make sure the bars are located in areas within reach when getting in and out of the bathing area
  • Practice using the bars prior to the next bathing session
  • If the living space is a rental, you may want to receive permission from the landlord prior to installation

Check out this “How to Make the Bathroom Safer for Your Elderly Parent” video from VNSNY to get more ideas on how to use grab bars.

To learn more about grab bars take a look at Cornell University’s Environmental Geriatrics site. Stay safe and strong.


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