Grab Bars in a Shower Stall



Unfortunately, if we old folks lose our balance, we instinctively reach out for the grab bars. When we need them most is when we are possibly exerting a great deal of force. I am over 6'7" and still weigh 262lbs, that represents a lot of energy being transferred, in a short period of time, to the grab bars.
I have stainless bars in my large, walk-in, unenclosed shower and have really needed them three times. I was quite grateful they were firmly attached. One time my wife said she felt the wall of the house shudder when I slipped.
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On 11/24/2016 12:21 PM, Stormin' Norman wrote:

Sure, a well secured bar is best, but something is better than nothing. Most of the time you can avoid the need to put full weight by simply holding the bar while entering or exiting the shower. I use the bar as a device for balance, not keeping from hitting the ground. Pound in a 16d nail about a third of the way and bend it over and it will prevent some falls just by holding the nail to steady yourself.
For a couple of years in my old fiberglass showers we used the suction cop bars and they were a big help.
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On Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 7:51:05 PM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Didn't we just go through this a few months ago?
"Most of the time you can avoid the need to put full weight..."
Sure, when you are intentionally trying to avoid putting full weight on it.
The problem comes when you reflexively need to put full weight on it and your eyes/brain expect the bar to be secure. You don't even consider another option because the bar is there. The bar with the suction cups.
No thanks. I'd rather do without.

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On 11/24/2016 9:08 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Yes, we did; I was wondering how long before you'd disagree. IMO, going without any aid is dumb if you can have something that will prevent a fall or slip. Have you ever used a suction cup bar? They are pretty damned strong and reliable. I also think I'm a decade or two older than you and can better appreciate an aid to prevent a slip so that full pressure is never needed.
As stated, even a bent nail can prevent a fall as it will steady you. Put a foot of rope hanging from it to make it easier to hold if you want to get fancy.
Perfect? No, but far better than noting. http://www.consumerreports.org/health/healthy-living/health-safety/safety-handle/overview/get-a-grip-ov.htm It grips, but we still have a few gripes. First, that disconnect between claim and instructions: If you're not supposed to use the handle for stability, what's the point? Also, installation can be a bit of a chore for people with limited hand strength. Under our steadily increasing load, the BB&B versions with larger cups held 196 pounds on average; the Get A Grip Web-site version held 136 on average.
For someone who needs a little assistance in the shower or tub, either version of Get A Grip should work fine. But don't rely on it for support in a fall.
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On Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 9:42:27 PM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Does your age start with an 8?
How can you be sure full pressure will never be needed?
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On 11/24/2016 10:19 PM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Starts with a 7. Can't be sure full pressure is never needed. OTOH, if you have nothing, what do you do if you start to slip? Put your soapy hand on a wet wall?. Grab a shower curtain? Perhaps if you had a handle to put your hand on you'd not slip.
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On Thursday, November 24, 2016 at 11:33:29 PM UTC-5, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I have a built in bar in the shower stall and a built in bar in the tub-shower.
I didn't say I don't think grab bars are a good idea, I said I'd rather do without than rely on a bar where even the manufacturer's lawyers don't trust it.
I don't care what it would take to install a proper grab bar. I would do it. I would never install a suction cup grab bar any sooner than I would put a sawhorse at the edge of a deck and call it a railing.
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On 11/25/2016 8:12 AM, DerbyDad03 wrote:

Not everyone can do or have done a proper installation. While a screwed in bar is best, something is better than nothing. That wet soapy hand reaching against a wet flat wall is not going to help much. The suction cup bar will though.
The sawhorse at the edge of the deck is not going to provide the same safety as a railing, but it does give people visual clues that they are near the edge. Could be a life saver.
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In typed:

I agree with your idea and concept in general.
One key point would be whether the grab bar installation would be for me in my own home or if it would be for someone else's home (or a rental property) where the installer (me or a contractor is putting it in for third party use).
In my own home, I don't have a true grab bar. On the wall of the tub/shower there is a metal towel rack. It was there when I bought my home. I doubt that it would meet any standard as a safety grab bar and, fortunately, I have never had to test it by falling and grabbing the towel rack to prevent or slow my fall. My guess is that in a worst case scenario, involving a conscious slip and fall, where I grab the towel rack for safety, it may help slow or break my fall -- which I think is a plus. And, I do sometimes use it for "balance" to keep myself oriented when turning around in the shower/tub etc. But, it is also high enough up that I wouldn't be able to try to use it to pull myself up out of the tub while taking a bath.
So, again, for my own use, what I have now is useful and I don't want to remove it or replace it with a "real" grab bar. But, I also know that I am unlikely to sue myself if I use to towel rack to break a fall and it fails.
In addition, in a true "I passed out unconscious" fainting episode, no grab bar will help because the person who passed out won't be conscious enough to even reach for anything -- unless maybe the person got dizzy first and then became unconscious.
On the other hand, if I (or a contractor) were to install a grab bar for a third party, I think that it would be important to install it up to all of the safety codes as a defense in case and occupant/user of the premises decides to sue the installer (me and/or a contractor) if there is a slip and fall and the installed device fails in some way.
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Per Ed Pawlowski:

I wonder if we are setting up a false choice here: between a bar that is not anchored to a stud and no bar at all.
--
Pete Cresswell

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On 11/25/2016 10:23 AM, (PeteCresswell) wrote:

Nothing is nothing and zero help. The suction cup bars are really pretty rugged. The idea is to PREVENT the fall where you have to put extreme pressure on it. Most times you just use a light hold to keep yourself steady. We used one for a couple of years and it is a great aid for safety. When the bathrooms were remodeled the new bars were anchored.
As I stated before, even a bent nail to hold is better than nothing.
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Ed Pawlowski wrote:

I just installed a suction cup grab bar in the shower to help with some balance issues. The bar appears to be quit sturdy and there is no way I could pull the bar off of the wall. The bar is described here:
https://www.oxo.com/products/storage-organization/bathroom/suction-grip-bar-brushed-nickel
They do say on their website and in the instructions included with the bar:
"This product is to be used as a balance assist only. Do not use it to support your full body weight. Do not lift yourself up with or hang from this product. This product is intended for temporary attachment and should be periodically reapplied as instructed."
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On Sun, 27 Nov 2016 13:26:09 -0500, Arnie Goetchius

That is the big problem with suction cups, environmental changes combined with cleanliness and chemistry cause the cups to lose vacuum at unpredictable times.
If you reapply them before using them each day, you will "probably" be safe.
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On 11/27/2016 1:34 PM, Stormin' Norman wrote:

Mine stayed in place about a year at a time. Have you ever used one? If so, tell me about your experience, if not you should learn more about them.
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I have used suction cup devices in the shower and my experience is as I cautioned above. I have also used powerful suction cup devices for pulling very large, glued on mirrors off several walls and they are ridiculously powerful. However, I did notice the vacuum can bleed off if left in place for several days.
That is another consideration, the vacuum cup grab bars could easily provide enough leverage to dislodge older or poorly set tiles.
Going through the tiles into studs eliminates all such considerations.
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On Sun, 27 Nov 2016 21:03:21 +0000, Stormin' Norman

And the earlier remark that someone could connect one end to a stud but the other end didn't match to another stud means someone was using the wrong grab bars. 16 and 32 inch bars mount horizontal. 24 inch bars mount on an angle, and bars shorter than 16 inches mount vertically. There is no such thing as "won't reach a second stud" if you use the right stuff.
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On Sun, 27 Nov 2016 21:03:21 +0000, Stormin' Norman
This has been a very popular thread; no doubt because of all the old crips in here. Another topic that I think you oldies would be interested in is "walkers"
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Lots of nice one there.
Good luck.
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Uncle Monster posted for all of us...

Always offer to help little old ladies because they always thank you. The little old Black ladies will say,"Thank you baby." I don't wish disability on my worst enemy (I want them to burn in Hell) but youngsters will one day be oldsters so don't make fun of anyone who has a difficult time getting around or you'll burn in Hell. +( ?_?)+

Karma Unc...
--
Tekkie

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Oren posted for all of us...

But that's not a life safety issue...
Wait a minute, it was with the maroon who climbed Trump tower. Of he safetied off every time so I don't know how confident he was.
--
Tekkie

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Per Arnie Goetchius:

That's today.
--
Pete Cresswell

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