What I am about to tell you could save your life or the life of a loved one. We all know about seat belts and how they save lives. Seat belts are standard equipment in cars these days and “buckling up” is the law. No, this blog is not about seat belts, it’s about grab bars. My last blog (A Little Toilet Talk) mentioned grab bars and the fact that we had installed them in our new home but I did not elaborate.
We need to dispel the notion that grab bars are just for “old, feeble,” people in nursing homes. grab bars are as important to home safety and fall prevention as a seat belt is to drivers of every age. A 2011 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that every year over 235,000 people over age 15 visited emergency rooms because of injures suffered in the bathroom and almost 14 percent were hospitalized. According to the CDC the most hazardous activities for all ages are bathing, showering (accounting for one-third of the injuries) and getting out of the tub/shower. Only 2.2 percent of injuries occur while getting into the tub/shower, but 9.8 percent occur while getting out. Another 14 percent of injuries occurred near the toilet.
So this is why Sharon and I, both healthy retirees, installed a grab bar in our shower and grab bars around the toilet and tub in our guest bathroom. Anyone, at any age, can slip and fall in the bathroom and a grab bar might be the difference between life or death. Anyone considering a remodel should install grab bars and the best method is to install what builders call “blocking” to the studs around the tub and toilet. Thus the reinforced walls can have grab bars installed at any angle rather than just relying on stud location.
Grab bars need not be that obvious. In our guest bathroom the grab bars are white and blend in with the tub surround and bathroom color scheme. Some grab bars may even double as towel holders. The complement the tub/shower grab bars you might also insure that you have a non-slip surface for added protection. Remember, you don’t need a seat belt until you need a seat belt. The same is true of grab bars. They both save lives.