Nov 232009
 

Installing grab bars in your bathrooms can greatly reduce the risk of people ever falling on the slippery surface. Not only is water slippery, but the soaps that you use have a tendency to build up on the shower floor, causing a very slimy residue that can become incredibly slick when it’s wet.

A slick and/or wet floor poses a danger when you enter or leave the shower as well as when you move around in the shower. A slippery bathtub also presents a danger when someone is getting in or out of it.

Someone can even lose their footing or slip when getting up from a toilet.

Having a grab bar to hold on in these situations can greatly reduce the risk of slipping and falling. This is especially important for adults over 65. For them, falling is the leading cause for emergency room visits. But don’t forget the problem someone can have if they are temporarily disabled such as when their foot is in a cast.

There are two primary types of grab bars: the wall mounted and the portable.

Wall-Mounted Grab Bars

The wall mounted grab bar is a cylindrical bar that is permanently screwed into the shower or bathtub wall. It will help people remain steady while getting into and out of the bathtub or shower and when they are moving around in the shower. It will also allow them to raise and lower themselves should they use a shower seat or built-in shower bench in the shower.

Before attaching the portable grab bar make sure the enclosure surface is smooth, non-porous and free of oils, dirt, or anything else that would prevent a tight fit. Then press firmly down and make sure the release levers are locked in place. Test the bar to be sure it can keep you steady before actually using it.

If the suction cups on these types of grab bars are made of mostly natural rubber, they can be incredibly strong. As long as you prepare the surface properly prior to installation, you should be easily able to use the bar to keep yourself stable when getting in and out of the shower.

Summary

Everyone can benefit from using grab bars in the bathroom, not just seniors or people with disabilities. Using a grab bar can save people a trip or two to the chiropractor, and possibly even the emergency room.

Nov 232009
 


If you are elderly, physically disabled, or handicapped, getting in and out of the shower can often times be a real hassle for you, or at other times, almost completely impossible. The good news for you is that there are now solutions to this problem, as more and more shower manufacturers are investing time and money into producing shower stalls that you can more easily get into. They understand the difficulties that you have because of your age or disability, and know that you require a more convenient shower entry option.

Basic Requirements

Basically, handicap accessible shower stalls do away with the high lip entry that is standard in most showers. By getting rid of this step, the shower floor is then either level with the bathroom floor or is at a small slope (about 2%).

This flat or barrier free shower entry allows seniors and people with limited mobility to more easily walk into their shower stall. It also allows caregivers to more easily transfer people in wheelchairs to the shower using a transfer bench or shower seat.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has published standards for this type of shower enclosure. Their standard (4.21.7) says that shower stalls that are 36 in by 36 inches (915 mm by 915 mm) should not have an entry higher than ½ an inch (13 mm). Shower stalls that are 30 inches by 60 inches (760 mm by 1525 mm) should not have any curbs at all.

You can read all the ADA standards by clicking on this ADA link and then selecting the PDF with all the standards.

Other Considerations

There are other considerations for installing a handicap accessible shower. The shower floor should be treated with waterproof material and include a non-skid finish. These precautions can also help prevent falls. Also make sure the water controls are located at a convenient height, especially if the person using the shower will be in a wheelchair. As far as the shower door goes, a large glass door can be difficult to maneuver. Consider having no door or a moveable shower curtain.

Also, remember the location of the shower faucets. Because the person using them will be seated, they must be low enough to reach while sitting. A separate water pipe and faucet can be built in for this low height. Or a flexible showerhead that moves up and down on a vertical bar can be used. This arrangement can also be very convenient for younger children who want to use the shower.

If building or remodeling a shower to accommodate handicap access is too big a deal, think about using a waterproof shower seat, shower chair, or built-in shower bench. For people in wheelchairs, shower commode chairs or sliding transfer benches are available that allow easier access to the shower.

For more information read What Type Shower Seats are Available?

Using a handicap accessible shower can provide seniors, the disabled and physically challenged people the safety, freedom, and comfort they want when taking a shower.