There has certainly been a lot of innovation when it comes to grab bars, a commonly used disability aid in the bath and toileting area.
Manufacturers have worked closely with users to understand their needs to design and develop a number of different options.
Here is a rundown the different types of grab bars you will find in the marketplace and when each type is recommended:
Straight Grab Bars:
The most commonly used grab bar you will see, it is simply a straight metal rod that comes in different sizes starting from 12 inches going up to 36 inches.
Used besides the toileting area or in the bathing area, allows the user to transition from a sitting to a standing position or vice versa. Recommended to users who have hip and joint issues or have undergone a surgery recently.
Angeled Grab Bars:
You will find grab bars that are at an angle of 45 degrees or 90 degrees.
This type of a grab bar is ideal for people who have weak wrists, allowing hem to utilise their arm to support their body-weight in the toileting area.
Also, useful for users who find it difficult to remain standing while showering, the angeled rod provides them with support whilst in a standing position whereas the flat part of the rod can allow them to change positions while sitting or standing on a bath chair.
Suction Grab Bars:
These are grab bars that come with suction cups that are used to fix them to a wall rather than screws. Considered a portable option as they are generally made with PVC, therefore, lighter in weight.
These type of grab bars are only recommended when a user needs only partial support rather than full-body support. Most commonly used in the showering area as they provide users with something steady to hold on to.
Bath Support Arm:
A bath support arm is used when a user has difficulties getting in and out of a bathtub. These type of grab bars are fixed on the wall next to the bathtub utilising a clamping mechanism.
Hinged Grab Bars:
Also called flip-up bars, these are used in the toileting area when a user required more support than what one grab bar can provide.
Flip-up bars are installed beside the toilet tank on either side and can be folded away when not in use.
The user can use both the arms to support their body weight while sitting or raising themselves from a toilet seat.
Grab Rails With Accessories:
You will also find grab rails that hardly look like grab rails. This is because a lot of manufacturers now produce models that have dual functionality.
One of these is a grab bar with a toilet roll holder or a towel holder, once installed, you won’t even notice that these are grab bars.
Another commonly found type of grab bar with dual-functionality is a grab bar with a shelf that is used in the bathing area.
What is the best grab bar for you and your needs? There is no easy answer to this, make sure you consult an independent living consultant or an occupational therapist as they can guide you through the process.