It may seem obvious to some people that grab bars in bathrooms would help seniors get in and out of the tub, but grab bars are used for other things too. They are mounted along the edge of the tub, along walls and are used to grab onto for stability and for assistance in sitting down or standing up.
Where are grab bars commonly used?
Grab bars are of great assistance to the elderly or disabled and are often installed:
- On the edge of the tub
- Along the sides and back wall of the tub
- Along the back and sides of a toilet
- Along the back or end walls where a bed is placed
- Along a hallway
How should grab bars be positioned?
It depends on what the bar is being used for – balance while standing, or help for getting into the sitting or standing position.
- Angle – this helps some people rise from a sitting position. However, it is against ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Guidelines. You must follow ADA guidelines in public places but they are not enforced in private homes.
- Horizontal – this positioning provides the greatest assistance to someone who is moving from sitting to standing position or vice versa. They are also useful in areas where the elderly may accidentally slip and fall; for example a bathroom floor when it becomes wet. The bars can be placed in strategic locations around the bathroom on the walls.
- Vertical – these are often used to provide balance while the elderly person is in the standing position.
What are the ADA specifications?
Remember that these guidelines are not enforced for private dwellings such as homes, but they have been tested and found to be of optimum standard, so it’s a good idea to use them in the home for the highest level of safety.
- The bars’ mounting devices must be able to support a force of 250 pounds or more.
- The diameter of the bars should be in the range of 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 inches.
- The clearance of the bar from the wall should be 1-1/2 inches so there is ample room for the hand do go around the bar without hitting the wall.
- The height of mounting should be 33 – 36 inches from the center of the bar to the floor.
- Bars should not be able to rotate in the fittings they are attached with.