Wait, What? Pretty Grab Bars?

There is much to consider when deciding which type of grab bars to install and where to locate them. As you research online you may become overwhelmed with recommendations from Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA https://www.ada.gov/ada_intro.htm) and/or Universal Design (UD http://universaldesign.ie/What-is-Universal-Design/).

ADA became legislation in 2010 and “prohibits discrimination and guarantees that people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to participate in the mainstream of American life”. ADA regulations apply to all local, county, state and federal government agencies as well as privately run businesses with 15 or more employees. ADA does not apply to private residences.

UD: The term “universal design was coined by the architect Ronald Mace to describe the concept of designing all products and the built environment to be aesthetic and usable to the greatest extent possible by everyone, regardless of their age, ability, or status in life. (Wikipedia.org)

And because this isn’t enough to overwhelm you, one must consider the third alternative, Accessible Design (AD), a design process in which the needs of people with disabilities are specifically considered. (www.washington.edu/doit/what-difference-between-accessible-usable-and-universal-design)

All of these approaches are fantastic! They demonstrate the regulations and recommendations available to assist people designing spaces that are set up with independence and safety in mind. Grab bars are just one way to help make a home safer and there is no reason to delay installation until they are necessary!

Home Mobility VT strives to assist people who are living in either a home, apartment, or senior independent living apartment to improve their level of independence and safety. Grab bars are a great and relatively easy place to begin. When most people think about where to place grab bars they typically think of the bathroom, and this is not at all incorrect. We place grab bars in and around the shower, toilet and on open walls to improve bathroom safety. Keep in mind, however, that they can also be beneficial in other rooms as well such as the bedroom, kitchen and doorway areas such as out to the garage.

Home Mobility VT is a proud distributor for the beautiful Ponte Giulio bathroom products. On more than one occasion we have heard a client claim “We don’t want our home to look like an institution.” Ponte Giulio is an Italian company with colorful grab bars can either coordinate or contrast with bathroom décor. The vinyl coating makes them softer and warmer to the touch, they are easy to clean and have anti-microbial protection.

“Ponte Giulio manufactures Stainless Steel, Vinyl Coated (anti-microbial) and Designer style accessibility products for both your home and work place such as grab bars, shower seats, ergonomic sinks and accessible shower enclosures”.

DEMENTIA OR ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE HOME ENVIRONMENTAL TIPS

delighted senior father and adult daughter hugging in studio

LIGHTING:

  • Lighting should be soft, not bright however very well lit
  • Night- lights throughout rooms
  • Windows should be covered with blinds and open for natural light during days. Close window coverings at night to decrease glare.

BEDROOM:

  • Put all personal hygiene items in a locked drawer. Many hygiene items are poisonous, nail polish remover, perfumes, shampoos, nail polish, lotions. Position bed facing the bathroom
  • Use cards/colorful photo images to label contents in drawers/cupboards and doors
  • Pictures of your loved one from when they were young
  • Pictures of family with the names of the family members

    BATHROOM:

  •  Always have the SAME towels available and place them in same location for easy access
  • Use non-slip mats, *shower chair and *grab bars
  • Keep toilet paper in same location and within easy reach of the toilet
  • If the sink is white, consider colorful stickers to help it be visible
  • If the bathroom FLOOR is shiny it may appear WET which could lead to your loved one becoming anxious and move unsteadily when entering bathroom.  Change the floor or eliminate the shine. Avoid wavy lines, stripes or changes of color between rooms if possible.
  • Toilet: if identifying toilet is becoming difficult consider changing the color of the toilet seat to create contrast. Consider the height of the toilet and installation of grab bars for safety concerns.
  • Keep household water temperature at or below 120F

ALL ROOMS:

  • Remove all clutter and tripping hazards (cables/wires running across the floor)
  • Remove area rugs OR tape down edges
  • Keep a list of phone numbers with a photo of each person beside the telephone.
  • Mirrors: Often those with dementia become confused or disoriented seeing themselves (or the reflection of the environment) in the mirror. Cover or remove them.
  • Provide a daily “To do list” on a bulletin board
  • -leave doors open that your loved one are permitted to enter. Close other doors.
  • Use contrast colored wall socket and switch plates

Consult OT/Home Modification Professional for recommendations

Resources: National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners and BrightFocus Foundation)

Fall Prevention

Balance and Fall Prevention

FALL PREVENTION STRATEGIES TO MAKE YOUR HOME SAFER: Make an investment in your independence!!

  1. Remove tripping hazards: secure (tape) or remove scatter rugs; tack down carpet if curling/puckering; use electrical tape to fasten electrical cords and phone charging cords to wall
  2. Clean up/remove all clutter (boxes/magazines/etc) from walking paths and stairs
  3. Store necessities (clothing, food, dishes) within easy to reach locations
  4. Adequate lighting: Keep your home brightly lit; use nightlights in bedroom, bathroom, and hallways; use glow in the dark/illuminated light switches; store flashlights in easy to find places in case of power outage
  5. Move furniture to allow for flowing traffic pattern
  6. Improve bathroom safety: grab bars, nonslip mat, shower seating, toilet modifications (seek out Home Modifications Specialist)
  7. Use non-slip surfaces throughout home: Bathtubs/showers, kitchen and bathroom floors, porches.

ADAPTIVE DEVICES: In addition to use of a cane or walker there are other assistive devices to consider. An Occupational Therapist/Home Modification Specialist is able to evaluate your living space and provide additional fall prevention strategies such as consideration of durable medical equipment (shower seating, grab bars, hand held sprayer); stair climbers, ramps or stair lifts; door widening strategies.

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