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Bath aids: choosing the best

Grab rails and non-slip bath mats

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Grab rails and non-slip bath mats

Simple measures you can take to adapt your bathroom, including installing grab rails, slip-resistant mats and extractor fans.

 

It's a good idea to consult an occupational therapist (OT) and/or visit a disabled living centre (DLC) before adapting a bathroom to make it safer.

An OT or mobility expert can advise you on the first steps you need to take, which will normally involve putting up grab rails and preventing the possibility of slipping. Equipment such as bath boards and seats should normally be used in conjunction with grab rails and slip-resistant mats and flooring.

Our reviews of riser recliner chairs, mobility scooters and stairlift brands might also help make life easier.

Grab rails

Grab rails help you move from one position to another – often from seating to standing – without slipping or losing your balance.

A wide range of grab rails is available, including angled and bespoke rails. Some of the smoother grab rails can be hard to grip when slippery – which is why it’s best to try them out before buying.

Most rails fix to the wall, while others attach to the bath or floor, and some attach to taps. It's very important that the fixings are strong and secure – and you may need to consult a tradesperson to check that your walls are strong enough to hold them. Grab rails with suction pads are also available for use when you're away from home, but are not designed for everyday use.

Grab rails normally cost between £5 and £40.

Whichever type you go for, it's important that they are positioned in the right place – you'll normally need guidance from an occupational therapist. It's also important that the rails are the right size for your hands.

If your hearing isn't what it used to be, why not check out our advice on hearing aid brands?

Non-slip mats and bathroom flooring

Before choosing bathing equipment or a new bathroom suite, first think about the floor in your bathroom – and specifically, how slip-resistant it is.

While cheap non-slip mats are readily available from DIY and household stores, the best option for your bathroom floor is to install specialist safety flooring, which might be rubber or vinyl-based and/or incorporate quartz crystals, aluminium oxide or silicon carbide to make the floor non-slip. Well-known slip-resistant floor manufacturers include Polyflor, Tarkett and Altro.

Laying a non-slip mat on the bottom of your bath (or shower) is equally important in preventing slips and falls. These come in a range of shapes and sizes, and fix to the bath with sucker feet. They cost from as little as £5. Anti-slip adhesive strips and shapes for the bath also have the same function, as do spray-on slip-resistant materials.

Note that the use of bath oils will both reduce the effectiveness of non-slip mats and increase the chance of an accident, so it’s best to avoid them.

Bathroom extractor fans

Extractor fans help to keep your bathroom free of steam – helping to reduce poor visibility and slippery surfaces.

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