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Grab bars for the home

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Grab bars are smooth, cylindrical bars that are mounted onto walls of a bathroom. [1] Grab bars provide the extra leverage, balance, and support for getting up from the toilet, getting in and out of the tub or shower, or simply getting from one place to another. [2]

They are useful tools in the shower for anyone with trouble standing, or positioning their bodies. They allow people with lower body motor impairments to shower independently, and prevent accidents that occur in wet and slippery environments. Additionally, they reduce the strain on the hips and knees – two body locations that experience fatigue in older individuals. [3]

Installing grab bars in a home bathroom will help elderly homeowners live independently, giving the option of staying in their own home instead of moving to assisted living communities.

Grab bar styles for the home

Invisia collection toilet paper holder with integrated grab bar
Invisia collection toilet paper holder with integrated grab bar

"What they don't like is the institutional feel that medical adaptations give their home," says Andrea Tannenbaum, President of Dynamic Living. "They want products that fit in with their decor, just like anyone else." [4]

For homeowners, it is important for assistive technologies to blend in elegantly with the home environment. The addition of grab bars to a home bathroom does not have to compromise style. Grab bars can be cleverly integrated into bathroom fixtures. Common design elements throughout the Invisia Collection allow for a variety of charming combinations to create a consistent look in any bathroom. Grab bars from the collection are disguised as corner shelves, soap dishes, towel bars, toilet paper holder, and other bathroom fixtures.

Grab bars by GreatGrabz; Far wall: Wave; Near wall: Horizon
Grab bars by GreatGrabz; Far wall: Wave; Near wall: Horizon

The Horizon and Wave grab bars from GreatGrabz are products that more closely resemble the more traditional bar, but are detailed elegantly and available in a variety of finishes to complement existing bathroom décor.

The Kingsley grab bar from Moen is equally beautiful, and is specifically designed to match the large Kingsley line of bath accessories and fixtures for a completely coordinated look.

Grab bar for travel

Super Grip handle
Super Grip handle

A suction cup grab bar is a good portable option for travel. Whether you will be staying in a hotel or at a friend’s house, you want to be prepared with a grab bar that will assist you in and out of the shower or bath. The Super Grip Handle has two suction cups that secure the handle on any smooth surface like a shower wall or bathtub. Releasing the lever removes the handle, making it portable for travel.

Guidelines for installation

Grab bars must bear up to 250 lbs. and must be mounted snugly into wall studs because sheet rock will not hold for long; eventually the grab bars tear away from the wall, causing someone a bad fall. If it's not possible to secure grab bars into wall studs, plywood boards can be used to reinforce the walls before screwing in the grab bars. [5]

The ADA provides detailed guidelines on grab bar positioning here: [6]

They can be installed horizontally or vertically, depending on what works best in any given space. [7]

Product Links

[8] Invisia Collection

[9] Horizon and Wave by GreatGrabz

[10] Kingsley by Moen

[11] Super Grip Handle

Author: Cristina Del Rosario
Affiliation: College of Architecture in Georgia Tech