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According to AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90% of people over the age of 65 want to live in their home as long as they can. As a result, many have taken steps to ensure their home meets their personal accessibility standards. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging in Place Report, home service professionals say the top aging-in-place projects they’ve been hired to do include installing grab bars (71%) and adding entryway wheelchair ramps (54%), and bathroom grab bars can be particularly useful in preventing bathroom falls. But before you invest in your own bathroom grab bar, you should know how to properly search for one that meets your needs. Here are just a few tips for buying and installing a grab bar for your home’s bathroom.

Check Positioning

Many assume that most or all grab bars are designed to be mounted vertically, but that isn’t always the case. Some are designed for horizontal installation, and some are even intended to be versatile and installed either way. Diagonal grab bars, on the other hand, are best suited for providing added support when bending over or standing up from a seated shower. Above all, it’s important to make sure that the grab bar you choose will work in the position that’s most comfortable for you.

Consider Diameter

Another common assumption people make when buying a grab bar involves its diameter. If you or someone that will be using the grab bar has minimal grip strength, it’s better to choose a grab bar that has a smaller diameter. After that, you can determine whether its finish should be glossy or textured to ensure a solid grip for wet hands.

Ensure Proper Length

Finally, it’s important to know that most grab bars installed in bathtubs are about 16 inches in length. This is often considered to be the measurement that meets accessibility standards and ensures the grab bar can be installed easily. If a 16 inch grab bar isn’t available, other multiples of 16 are recommended for easiest use and installation.

By 2030, older adults (seniors) will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population. Understanding how to purchase a grab bar that meets your needs is the key to achieving elderly independence and living comfortably in your home as long as you can.

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