A grab rail guide for beginners

4 useful tips and 2 important rules for installing grab rails in your home. 

The first and most important rule is that you need to buy grab rails that were specifically designed to fulfill the purpose of a grab rail. This means that it must be made from sturdy, durable material like stainless steel, it's designed must allow tight and secure installation, and it must be the right thickness so that hands big and small can grab onto it easily. We will get to rule 2 a little later.

Before buying your SABS approved (this way you know it is safe) stainless steel grab rails, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Who am I installing the grab rails for?
  2. How often are they going to be in the space?

Disabilities come in various forms and affect people of all ages. A frail elderly may need grab rails for different reasons than a cerebral palsy patient does, while paraplegics may have their own unique needs. Also, there is a difference between setting up your home for a permanent resident as opposed to setting it up for a regular visitor.

So, with those two questions in mind, here are some tips on places in and around your home where a reliable grab rail will come in handy:

The bath, toilet, and staircase are the first obvious places that come to mind when thinking of installing handrails. But have you considered installing them:

  1. Around the kitchen sink. This is especially because the kitchen sink area is prone to becoming slippery. Installing a simple handrail along the edge of the zinc is also ideal for someone who still enjoys cooking and washing up, but may need addition support to stand.
  2. Along the garage wall, close to the door that has direct access to the kitchen. This is a useful safety addition for anyone really- it’s easy to lose your balance while trying to carry a ton of groceries from the car! It also offers additional standing support for if someone has to look for their keys and unlock the door while carrying things.
  3. Next to the bed. If the patient is a permanent resident or sleeps over often, a grab rail next to the bed is pretty essential. This will allow them to get up easily if they have to in the middle of the night when someone is not available to help.
  4. Along the passage. If the patient enjoys practicing independence and so tries to walk around often, you need to install grab rails in the passage. This will encourage them to walk around, even if they have to cross areas where there is less furniture to hold onto, and a good spot to rest if need be.

The second important rule is that you need to install your grab rail on a strong surface; grab rails must be able to take the weight of a full-grown person in a sudden jerking motion, without coming loose. This means that installing grab rails onto wood or drywall is not an ideal option! So before installing grab rails in unusual places, make sure that the surface area will support the grab rail properly.

See SABS approved stainless steel grab rails in different shapes and sizes.