One common home modification older adults put in place is grab bars, particularly in the bathroom. These grab bars can help with age-related mobility issues. They can also help prevent falls. However, there are certain guidelines and general tips to follow when it comes to installing them.
- Pay attention to grab bar height: There is no standard height requirement for residential grab bar installation. Everyone’s needs will be different. Though, in ADA-compliant bathrooms, they are generally installed 33-36 inches off the floor.
- Attach the bar to studs: The grab bars will be solid if they are anchored to studs. When planning where to put the grab bars, use a stud sensor to find them.
- Pay attention to grab bar length: They should cover as much of the shower wall as possible. For larger showers, a bar for each wall might be a good idea.
- Plan placements with the person who will use them: The person who will be using the grab bars the most should have a say in where to place them for ease of access.
- Strength test the grab bars: After they are installed, pull on the grab bar with all your strength. You need to know that, when the time comes, they will stay in place. Also, have a helper in the room with you when you test the grab bar.
When properly installed, grab bars can make a world of difference when going about daily tasks.