AnonymousBosch

Getting old and bathroom grab handles:

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My back is only going to get worse. Old war wound dontcha¬†know.¬†ūüė£¬†No, not the Boer war either.

So , while framing out the wet room I casually mentioned that I was building in strong points for a couple of grab handles.

SWMBO: "Well I don't want the place looking like a steam room for geriatrics"   

 

How on earth do I duck and dive round this one?

Recessed handles?

Hefty towel rails?

 

Help!

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Nearly took a tumble in the wet room corner myself the other night. Note to self, never shower inebriated!

 

Something contemporary like this (Argos):

 

8495064_R_Z001A.jpeg.4b7466d4b2e78883d0511e86090c6be9.jpeg

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51 minutes ago, AnonymousBosch said:

How on earth do I duck and dive round this one?

Recessed handles?

Make sure you put the patresses in and that you know where they are and then just wait until you really need them. IE fit them about 24 hours before you would have fallen over for the first time were they not there.

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I'm with Onoff. 

Fit them in anything but white.

We all know what they are. Im 32 and am creating a seat in our shower for a similar reason. I wouldn't give it too many years before I need a handle to get off said seat. Just try to make it look less sterile. 

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Posted (edited)

Imo mainly by being realistic and talking. This is largely a bit of a self-feedback screed from mine, but touches on the q. 

 

1 - You do not know completely what you will need, in the main. (In your case, you can perhaps predict eg some aspects of hand-grip - or lack of - to design for, just as I can predict possible ultimate blindness, preceded by eye conditions, and maybe an amputationor two from my Type I diabetes). I would argue that preparations now need a bit more flexibility than 'strong points for grab handles' - say to allow for different heights etc. You may have this covered.

 

2 - You also need to cater for other users. eg I am now more than a foot taller than mum, who has shrunk by nearly 6 inches over 15 years as her back has collapsed after a career as a physio and a hobby maintaining a 2 acre garden for 40 years. We are used to this in our kitchens (eg no wall units iirc from one of our BH 'one and a half' couples). But it also applies in spades to things like shower seats and steadying rails; if you put he seat at the height for a taller person, the shorter person may have no purchase on the shower tray with their feet.

 

OTOH a relation who is sometimes here has just had an early hip replacement, and is 15-18 stone. So my downstairs shower seat needs to cater for the larger person "plonking" onto it, because the consequences of an injury for someone already more vulnerable are unthinkable. And so it has 100mm bfo screws into breeze blocks.

 

3 - Aesthetics vs the best safety possible. Ultimately imo it must surely be function over form, but you can be creative.

 

I speculated about chrome handrails, and my fitter pointed out quite bluntly the potential extra likelihood of slips, and the devastating potential impact on someone in her 80s of say a fall in the shower, or a trip over a door threshold onto porcelain tiles. Bye bye chrome rails except where they are "lean on" only.

 

It may be that be as younger older people you can get away with a different compromise first time around. 

 

4 - What do you get if you cross a growing-older person with a shower cubicle? Bloody great screw holes all over your multipanel.

 

Once you have put grabrails and things in, your nice pristine shower will be a complete mess should you ever move them. I have largish tiles, and no fewer than 12 of them now have almost 30 screwholes drilled for adaptations.

 

What happens if it changes? Will you gut it and start again, or have you a strategy planned for repairs?

 

Being strictly practical, I have the advantage here that my older person has already gone beyond incidental adaptations, so I know that the next stage is likely to be residential care and probably will not have to move it all around again. 

 

Ideas for Flexibility?

 

A - One thing that has been manageable but not thought about, is that currently we are sharing a shower due to the other one not being refurbished yet. And requirements are very different. Mum needs the shower head at my belly-button height to match the seat, which would make it annoying to move around every day. Fortunately it is a dual mode rainfall / shower head thing, so it is OK. You will need the shower head to wash your feet when you stiffen up.

 

B - Take time thinking, which you do anyway. We spent a couple of hours in the shower room talking about grab rails and other things, and working it out afterwards. It has to be done sitting there. The closed loo was a good convenient guide to height for us.

 

C - Places where most force will be needed are where you need the best grips. These will be ribbed plastic, but for aesthetics knurled stainless, rubber sleeves, or rubber inserts can be OK. The latter three are probably better for 'first time around'. Careful positioning really matters.

 

Inside our front door I have installed an oak handrail to match the banisters as it is just a 'hang on whilst opening the door' thing. For aesthetics such could be part of a built-in umbrella stand, for example. Or a walking stick stand, of which I am suffering a plague like Egypt. How can one have 6 walking sticks, and they are all always somewhere else? Ditto mobility equipment (Sholley, Skimmer, Zimmer, Chair ..  Wheelchair,

Imo mainly by being realistic and talking. This is largely a bit of a self-feedback screed from mine, but touches on the q. 

 

1 - You do not know completely what you will need, in the main. (In your case, you can perhaps predict eg some aspects of hand-grip - or lack of - to design for, just as I can predict possible ultimate blindness, preceded by eye conditions, and maybe an amputationor two from my Type I diabetes). I would argue that preparations now need a bit more flexibility than 'strong points for grab handles' - say to allow for different heights etc. You may have this covered.

 

2 - You also need to cater for other users. eg I am now more than a foot taller than mum, who has shrunk by nearly 6 inches over 15 years as her back has collapsed after a career as a physio and a hobby maintaining a 2 acre garden for 40 years. We are used to this in our kitchens (eg no wall units iirc from one of our BH 'one and a half' couples). But it also applies in spades to things like shower seats and steadying rails; if you put he seat at the height for a taller person, the shorter person may have no purchase on the shower tray with their feet.

 

OTOH a relation who is sometimes here has just had an early hip replacement, and is 15-18 stone. So my downstairs shower seat needs to cater for the larger person "plonking" onto it, because the consequences of an injury for someone already more vulnerable are unthinkable. And so it has 100mm bfo screws into breeze blocks.

 

3 - Aesthetics vs the best safety possible. Ultimately imo it must surely be function over form, but you can be creative.

 

I speculated about chrome handrails, and my fitter pointed out quite bluntly the potential extra likelihood of slips, and the devastating potential impact on someone in her 80s of say a fall in the shower, or a trip over a door threshold onto porcelain tiles. Bye bye chrome rails except where they are "lean on" only.

 

It may be that be as younger older people you can get away with a different compromise first time around. 

 

4 - What do you get if you cross a growing-older person with a shower cubicle? Bloody great screw holes all over your multipanel.

 

Once you have put grabrails and things in, your nice pristine shower will be a complete mess should you ever move them. I have largish tiles, and no fewer than 12 of them now have almost 30 screwholes drilled for adaptations.

 

What happens if it changes? Will you gut it and start again, or have you a strategy planned for repairs?

 

Being strictly practical, I have the advantage here that my older person has already gone beyond incidental adaptations, so I know that the next stage is likely to be residential care and probably will not have to move it all around again. 

 

Ideas for Flexibility?

 

A - One thing that has been manageable but not thought about, is that currently we are sharing a shower due to the other one not being refurbished yet. And requirements are very different. Mum needs the shower head at my belly-button height to match the seat, which would make it annoying to move around every day. Fortunately it is a dual mode rainfall / shower head thing, so it is OK. You will need the shower head to wash your feet when you stiffen up.

 

B - Take time thinking, which you do anyway. We spent a couple of hours in the shower room talking about grab rails and other things, and working it out afterwards. It has to be done sitting there. The closed loo was a good convenient guide to height for us.

 

C - Places where most force will be needed are where you need the best grips. These will be ribbed plastic, but for aesthetics knurled stainless, rubber sleeves, or rubber inserts can be OK. The latter three are probably better for 'first time around'. Careful positioning really matters.

 

Inside our front door I have installed an oak handrail to match the banisters as it is just a 'hang on whilst opening the door' thing. For aesthetics such could be part of a built-in umbrella stand, for example. Or a walking stick stand, of which I am suffering a plague like Egypt. How can one have 6 walking sticks, and they are all always somewhere else? Ditto mobility equipment (Sholley, Skimmer, Zimmer, Chair ..  Wheelchair, Walker, Self ... like firemen in Trumpton); nearly needs an extra garage.

 

 

D - Think rails not just handles. And whether they will need to take full bodyweight or just steadying. I would suggest two tall rails either side of the shower apparatus is a good idea and unobtrusive - perhaps textured stainless for now, and you can add a very grippy sleeve when needed.

 

E - Occupational therapists and eg Age UK will offer excellent advice, as may the Council. We had a free visit. Prob would not get priority, but it would probably help them too to think about possibilities in custom builds.

 

F - Ultimately you will need to think about moving around the whole house comfortably, but that is a different can of worms.

 

G - Standalone stools can be OK in the shower eg for putting feet on to wash - say from bamboo or other material. May be a good compromise.

 

H - I have an inkling that flexible handles as seen used by straphangers on the tube may be an interesting discreet interim idea, or leather versions thereof, or even rope. Perhaps not for showers. Have not seen this, nor tested it. Loops to tension against on the wrist can be better than things that have to be gripped with fingers.

 

Just thoughts. There is quite a lot of this touched on in my accessible bathroom stuff, and a list of links here.

 

 

Ferdinand

 

Edited by Ferdinand

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I knew a chap who developed MS. He started out using suction fit grab rails primarily to determine the perfect position but also that he only needed something to help his confidence in keeping his balance rather than putting any great weight on. Once he knew exactly where he wanted the rails he had some made up to best match the match the wall colour that they were fastened to (his wife’s idea). If memory serves he had them made from a resin like material that came in any colour you wanted but was also quite grippy.

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