Types of Toilet Grab Bars : Best for Senior Safety

Moen 8724 Home 24-Inch Bathroom Grab Bar

The toilet is a necessity, but is it comfortable and safe to use for seniors? Many elderly people have various mobility issues that may be age-related, or due to joint problems, or other physical limitations and this can make the use of the toilet an uncomfortable experience.

While most seniors can benefit by using raised toilet seats, toilet seat lifters, and other toilet assistive devices, grab bars that are strategically placed near the toilet offer additional safety. They offer support in sitting down and getting up, which is very important for seniors who may have balance problems. The use of toilet grab bars offers seniors a degree of independence while using the toilet.

They are also different from safety rails that may be attached to the toilet and help senior who has severe mobility issues.

How to Select a Toilet Grab Bar:

toilet grab bars

Grab bars should adhere to government guidelines. They should have rounded edges and there should be at least 1 1/2’’ clearance between the wall and the bar, so that hands have enough space and do not get stuck.

You need to check the kind of toilet grab bars that you buy and these are some factors to narrow down your selection:

1. Material : Ensure that the material of the toilet grab bar is sturdy. Something like stainless steel or heavy-duty plastic should be fine (250 pounds). It should be strong enough to bear the weight of the senior and offer the required assistance.

2. Diameter ( thickness ): You don’t want something too narrow, which will be difficult to give a good grip. Between 1.25 inches and 1.5 inches, thickness will give good support and be easier to hold. If it is too thin or too thick, it increases the risk of slips and falls, and you don’t want that.

3. Screws: Ideally grab bars should be screwed onto the wall. The screws should be of good-quality stainless steel and go deep enough into the wall to provide the requisite support to the grab bar. Iron screws can rust and loosen over time, so are best avoided. When fixing the grab bar, ensure that it is stable and sturdy enough.

4. Length: Toilet grab bars are available in different lengths. So the grab bar should be long enough for the senior to grip firmly. It should also be strategically placed so that it is within comfortable reach of the senior using it. Both size and the placement of the grab bars are important and should be tailored to the size, comfort, and movement of the senior who is going to use them.

Keep in mind that the toilet grab bars are meant to be used for the comfort and ease of use of the senior, so make sure the ones you buy meet the criteria.

Where best to place the grab bars:

It is necessary to place the grab bars in positions that are senior-friendly and accessible. The placement depends on the size of the toilet area. Many toilets may have a bathing area attached, though some may be stand-alone toilets or walled-off toilets in a small area.

Whether they are placed vertically or horizontally, they must be able to bear a 250 lbs. weight at any point. It stands to reason that the walls should be strong enough to bear this weight and so should be adequately reinforced. Additionally, if grab bars are mounted on the rear of the toilet, they should not conflict with the flushing mechanism, whether it is a button or a handle.

You have to see which walls are nearest the commode.

1. Side Wall: You can place a toilet grab bar in the horizontal position on the side wall of the toilet. This should be 34 inches to 38 inches above the ground for best results. The placement can vary and depend on the height of the individual using it as well as the height of the toilet. This should offer optimal support to the senior and help him or her sit down and get up more easily.

2. Rear Wall: If you feel that the rear wall is a better placement for the toilet grab bar, then the grab bar can be installed vertically or diagonally for the best support. This makes it easier to use to get up from a seated position.

3. Front Wall: When the toilet is in a somewhat enclosed area and there is a wall in front of it, you may consider attaching a grab bar to this wall. This will also help the senior get up from the commode. Do not attach this to the bathroom door that can be opened as it will not offer the desired stability.

Please check the area and the convenience of the placement of the toilet grab bars before going ahead with the installation. Ensure that the height and whether you want to place it horizontally, vertically, or diagonally is right for the senior who needs it. A few inches here and there can make all the difference.

Different Grab Bars:

A range of toilet grab bars can be found. You should check their weight-bearing capacity, their ease of installation, their size, and their placement. Also, check that they can be fitted on the toilet wall.

1. Stainless Steel Grab Bars:

Bathroom Grab Bar

You can get grab bars in a range of sizes. In this category, the popular ones range from 12 inches to 24 inches. Make sure that the quality of stainless steel is good, that the size is right, and that it can support the weight of your senior. These grab bars can be placed in any position that you want and may or may not come with nails and mounts.

2. Textured Grab Bars:

Textured Grab Bars

Textured grab bars are another alternative. They offer a great grip, with less risk of slipping because they are textured. These are available in stainless steel and plastic.

3. Suction Cup Grab Bars:

suction grab bar by vive

Suction plastic grab bars are another option. They are usually made of hardened plastic and, as they are mounted by suction, do not need any screws for fixing. Some of them come with a locking mechanism, making them relatively safer to use. While they are generally used in the shower or bath, they can also be used in the toilet.

However, they bear lesser weight than the steel ones. They do require a smooth surface for the suction to work, so the wall that they are placed on should be marble, acrylic, glass, tile, or metal. They will not be safe to stick on painted or wall-papered walls. On the plus side, they are easy to mount and even unmount if necessary. Some grab bars of this type are only meant to assist a person in using the toilet and are not meant to bear body weight, so if that is your requirement, then you will be better served by a screw-on metal grab bar.

Wrapping It All Up:

If your senior parent needs some support to use the toilet smoothly and independently, then toilet grab bars are a great assistive device. These devices help prevent falls in seniors and also mitigate privacy concerns. They can be used with or without toilet raisers and lifters, depending on the health issues faced by the senior. It is always best to check with your healthcare provider or occupational therapist before using toilet grab bars and go by his or her advice. After all, you want your senior to be comfortable and independent as long as possible.
Article Written by :

Mejdi Khamessi on July 2, 2023
Article reviewed by :

Dr Ameni Jouini on July 3, 2023
Article Rewritten by :

Smiti Munwani on April 16, 2024
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous Post
An alone Senior

Signs That Elderly Parents Cannot Live Alone

Next Post
A Senior with an assistant

How Seniors Can Use AI To Make Life Easier

Related Posts