Saying I Love You
With Bathroom Grab Bars
With Mom's move-in date approaching, my thoughts turned to bathroom grab bars. On her last visit, I had had to help her in and out of the tub. There was no way she could stand for a shower without support.
We needed to install a shower grab bar.
But I anticipated a problem. My tub and its shower surround are a one-piece affair, and when I pushed hard on the surround, it gave a bit, suggesting that there was space behind it. How could I install a shower grab bar without a firm surface?
Junk mail offered a plastic solution that held through the power of suction cups. I was suspicious. Would the suction cups hold?
A nearby town has a store that caters to those with medical needs, particularly needs related to loss of mobility. I checked them out.
Right in the window was a plastic grab bar attached by suction cups. Hurray?
I asked for and got permission to test the bar.
With almost no effort at all, I pulled it off the window.
The clerk told me that since the window was in full sun, the seal would be loose. She reinstalled the plastic bar. This involved pressing the suction cups against the window and clicking a button to secure the seal.
This time I needed more effort to pull the grab bar off the window, but I could do it without strain. She and I reinstalled the plastic grab bar multiple times, and each time, I pulled it off.
Clearly I was not going to put that grab bar in my mother's bathroom!
The gentleman in the store who installed bathroom grab bars said there was no way to install a metal bar with the shower surround system I had.
To Accommodate Bathroom Grab Bars?
I left with visions of reconstruction and vanishing dollar signs flashing before my eyes. Although I loathed both visions, I was ready to bite the bullet.
I'd had two bathroom renovations previously and knew exactly which contractor I wanted. Vic is a bathroom and kitchen wizard. Except he had retired. I called him anyway to ask for a recommendation.
Joy and delight, he'd come out of retirement! Even more delightful, he scoffed at the idea of replacing the bathtub and shower surround. He insisted that he could install any bathroom garb bars in my current set-up.
My job was to buy the bars.
I bought all the bathroom grab bars our local building supply store had, including one with a bend in it. I couldn't imagine how it worked, but I thought I'd better let someone with expertise decide which of the bathroom safety bars we needed in our situation.
Turned out I did need the "bendy one" and one other.
Hiring a professional to install the stainless steel grab bars made all the difference to us. It was much cheaper than installing a new tub and surround, and infinitely safer than using the do-nothing plastic grab bar from the store.
With our lovely stainless steel bathroom grab bars, Mom can choose a shower or bath and can use either independently. I never have to worry about her falling.
PS. We don't need grab bars for the toilet because Mom can use the vanity for support when she gets up and down. And we don't have grab bars anywhere else in the house.
I've got my eye on a recliner that actually tips a person out in an upright position, though.
If you keep an eye on the retirement blog
, you'll know how that search goes.
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