Aging in Place with Grace

Sexy Grab Bars

If I say sexy, do you say grab bars? Why not?

OK. I’ll admit it. When we think of grab bars, we never think of something elegant, sleek and part of our décor – right. Well we’ve come a long way baby!

As bathroom and home design has moved towards the more glamorous, so have the attendant features found in them. In fact, there are so many choices it is almost like buying clothes! What color is right? What “look” fits in best with my décor? What accessories can I use that will make a statement?






The traditional grab bar is a stable device, used particularly in the bath room, where assistance in rising or lowering, in maintaining balance or redistributing weight while maneuvering are often needed. And as we age, we tend to lose our balance more quickly, so grab bars are great fall preventer. And those who are in wheelchairs, use walkers, or have caregivers who provide assistance, grab bars become an essential part of daily living.

So, too, have design changes been brought to the realm of the formerly staid grab bar. Once nothing more than a hollow, straight, boring tube of stainless steel, the grab bar has metamorphosized into a gorgeous addition to any bathroom! And this addition plays right into the up and coming need for more universal design that will appeal to all generations and all abilities. Builders and those considering new construction would be well served to consider adding additional blocking and studs to accommodate future installation of grab bars and other similar components.
 (Vertical Wave Bar)





Now one can choose from angled, curved or rounded bars with antibacterial surfaces, made from nickel, bronze, brass, stainless or wood components, in a myriad of colors with glamourous flanges (the part that attaches to a wall) that provide custom-like decorator touches. Moen even has an elegantly curved one that incorporates a toilet roll holder. You can even match an entire room’s plumbing components to a single design. There are flip down bars, portable bars and bars that meet ADA compliance standards. When choosing to install a grab bar:

  • Think location, location, location! If it is not installed at the right height for that user, in exactly the right “spot” it may be difficult to use or may not be used at all!
  • This one of those times that you can choose something for both form and function! What suits your style?
  • Is a grab bar needed in more than one location in the bathroom? Bedroom? Entry hallway? Follow the intended user around to see where they need this balance assistance the most.
  • Ensure that installation is done properly and securely. A bar that is improperly installed could lead to serious injuries – exactly what you are trying to prevent!




But taking this even further, Michael A. Thomas, FASID, in his article “Why you should stop using grab bars,” humorously writes of a meeting he had with a client who was adamant that grab bars represented someone elderly and frail and he did not want that in his bathroom! So, Mr. Thomas says, “… I offered a new solution.  No longer would he need a grab bar.  What he required was a “balance bar,” something a ballet artist would use.  He was intrigued.  I showed him the picture and described it as a seductive, sexy polished chrome support.” Ah, semantics.

So now we no longer have grab bars, but balance bars. Who knew! I like it!

© Dr. Jill M. Bjerke 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to [Your Name] and [Your Blog Name] with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


Enhanced by Zemanta
Be Sociable, Share!