I struggled for quite a while selecting and installing grab bars around the house to help J steady herself. I started off looking at bed rails — it took several tries before I found one that was sturdy, easy to install, and didn’t take up too much room. Many of the bed rails required elaborate installation or were difficult to remove. My choice was the Medline Bed Assist Rail. It’s a sturdy, inexpensive, easy to install and move, and it has a handy pocket. It’s not the safest solution so you have to be careful about exerting too much sideways force, and using it effectively does require some proper positioning when getting into and out of the bed. Overall, I’d give it a B+.
Then I decided to tackle the bathrooms, and that was a nightmare. There are so many choices and opportunities to place bars, most of them incorrectly. I had a couple of occupational therapists come to the house and give me guidance on placement with respect to transfers and standing safety. Then I used the bar models with suction cups to test those positions. Note: I don’t recommend the suction cup models — they are inherently unreliable and dangerous. They are useful for testing purposes if you’re careful about not relying on them totally. I finally installed two grab bars — actually, I had my contractor do the installs — one in the master bath to assist with showers, and the other in the modified guest bath to assist with toileting.
One of the problems with grab bars, and I can think of many problems, is that they are often not where you want them to be unless you’re able to do an install like an accessible bathroom in a commercial establishment. My bathrooms aren’t that big, and while a single bar is helpful, I felt I wanted a bit more security.
Then I found the Stander Security Pole and S-curved Bar. I’d prefer to not make major permanent alterations to the house in case I need to sell in the future, so I’m always looking for temporary but reliable solutions. The Stander product allows me to put a grab bar where I need it without permanent installation. In the pictures below, you can see it installed alongside a stall shower so that it provides security on the opposite side of the toilet from the wall-installed bar. Importantly, the s-curved bar can be rotated as needed. If you have a solid floor and ceiling the pole is very secure — I use it myself and put all my weight on it without a problem
The Stander product is affordable made even more so by not requiring any permanent installation. It wasn’t the easiest thing to assemble and place myself — I had to ask my daughter for assistance as it’s long and cumbersome to get through the doorway and in place. You may also need help holding it upright while you lock it in place, done with a supplied wrench that extends the pole. Overall, it wasn’t that much effort. I’d give it an A.
I’ll talk more about safety and security solutions in future posts. Have you found any solutions you’d recommend?