accessibility standards

3 Smart Tips For Purchasing and Installing Bathroom Grab Bars

According to AARP and the National Conference of State Legislatures, 90% of people over the age of 65 want to live in their home as long as they can. As a result, many have taken steps to ensure their home meets their personal accessibility standards. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2016 Aging in Place Report, home service professionals say the top aging-in-place projects they’ve been hired to do include installing grab bars (71%) and adding entryway wheelchair ramps (54%), and bathroom grab bars can be particularly useful in preventing bathroom falls. But before you invest in your own bathroom grab bar, you should know how to properly search for one that meets your needs. Here are just a few tips for buying and installing a grab bar for your home’s bathroom.

Check Positioning

Many assume that most or all grab bars are designed to be mounted vertically, but that isn’t always the case. Some are designed for horizontal installation, and some are even intended to be versatile and installed either way. Diagonal grab bars, on the other hand, are best suited for providing added support when bending over or standing up from a seated shower. Above all, it’s important to make sure that the grab bar you choose will work in the position that’s most comfortable for you.

Consider Diameter

Another common assumption people make when buying a grab bar involves its diameter. If you or someone that will be using the grab bar has minimal grip strength, it’s better to choose a grab bar that has a smaller diameter. After that, you can determine whether its finish should be glossy or textured to ensure a solid grip for wet hands.

Ensure Proper Length

Finally, it’s important to know that most grab bars installed in bathtubs are about 16 inches in length. This is often considered to be the measurement that meets accessibility standards and ensures the grab bar can be installed easily. If a 16 inch grab bar isn’t available, other multiples of 16 are recommended for easiest use and installation.

By 2030, older adults (seniors) will account for roughly 20% of the U.S. population. Understanding how to purchase a grab bar that meets your needs is the key to achieving elderly independence and living comfortably in your home as long as you can.

curved stair lift

Up, Up, and Away: Commonly Asked Questions About Stairlifts

Stairlifts can be an effective method to get up household stairs with ease and remove the dangers of falling or tripping down the steps. Each year, over two million senior citizens suffer injuries caused by a fall and need to visit an emergency room. Stairlifts are a great way to help erase some of the worry associated with falling at home. Many people think that their home isn’t compatible with a stairlift, or they aren’t sure exactly how they work. Here are some frequently asked questions about stairlifts that may answer any queries you have:

  1. Is it connected to the wall?
    Stairlifts are actually fastened to your staircase directly and not the wall or railing. This means they are extremely sturdy and you don’t have to worry about putting weight on the wall or railing. The track will run along the side of your railing and is bolted to the staircase every few steps or so. All you’ll need is an outlet to plug your stairlift into. Most lifts come with a backup battery as well in case you lose power, but you should request one just to be sure.
  2. Will a stairlift fit in my home
    Almost always are the lifts able to be configured to work on any type of stairs. There are to main types of stairlifts: straight stairlifts and curved stair lifts. The straight rail models are designed for staircases that don’t curve or bend very much or have landings. Curved stair lifts are ideal for just about every other type of staircase and can be customized to fit your exact needs. A specialist from the stairlift company will come to your home and take pictures with a 3D camera. The pictures will then be used to create your customized curved stair lift.
  3. What if I want to use one for my stairs that are outside?
    There are both straight and custom outdoor stairlifts that can be used on staircases outdoors. They’re weatherproof and will usually come with a seat cover. They’re also UV light, rain, and even freezing temperature resistant.
  4. What is the weight capacity?
    Most lifts have a maximum capacity of about 300 pounds, although there are options for higher capacities as well. If you plan on carrying heavy items up or down the stairs with you on the lift then inquire about a heavy duty model.

If you have difficulty doing basic tasks such as climbing your stairs, consider using a stairlift to make your home mobility simpler.

varying needs

Buying A Mobility Scooter? Don’t Neglect These Essential Considerations (Part 2)


In the last post, we addressed some main considerations to keep in mind when purchasing a mobility scooter for yourself or a loved one. It’s critical to base your decision on your varying needs in order to achieve maximum elderly independence. Here’s part two of our guide that will address some more essential considerations to keep in mind when investing in a mobility scooter.

Riding Habits/Locations
Many people don’t think about this aspect of mobility scooter use, but it certainly does make a difference in your purchasing decision, or at least, it should. If you’ll be using the scooter mainly outside of the home for errands like grocery shopping, compact travel scooters may be ideal due to their ease of use, and more importantly, transportation. Typically, you’ll find that three-wheeled travel scooters are the lightest, most maneuverable, and most compact. If you’ll be using your scooter outside a lot, it’s also ideal to choose a model that has a high ground clearance.

If the person using the scooter will be using it primarily around the house, it’s important to choose a model that can make tight turns and navigate through narrow halls and doorways. Three-wheeled mobility scooters are often the best option for these types of users. In some cases, a power wheelchair can also provide the navigability and tight turn radius necessary for riding through small spaces. Consider your home’s accessibility standards before choosing the model that’s right for you.

Storage And Transportation
Finally, don’t neglect to consider the storage and transportation necessary with certain mobility scooter models. Some can be broken down and transported in your vehicle, while others may require scooter lifts for vehicles. If possible, it may be beneficial to invest in multiple scooters if you have the budget. One can be for home use, while the other can be used to go out and run errands.

Ultimately, every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall. Taking the time to choose the right mobility scooter is the key to maximizing safety and ensuring your varying needs are met. For more information about versatile motor scooter accessories, contact Access NSM.

elderly independence

Staying Sharp With Age: 3 Everyday Ways to Foster Elderly Independence

The majority of people think about safety as they age. Common activities naturally become a little more difficult and things that were considered bumps and bruises during youth are a little more significant. Part of the preparation for the inevitability of aging is modifying your in-home living environment.

As of 2016, approximately 48% of homeowners older than 55 say that the bathroom is the riskiest, potential danger-zone in the home. While many are busy having their homes modified, the most easily overlooked part of elderly independence takes a back seat: personal growth.

Bathroom safety, increased accessibility standards, and other modifications to the physical environment are important, but keeping your mind and body sharp as you age is paramount to making those physical adjustments matter. Let’s look at some everyday ways to stay in shape physically, mentally, and emotionally.

The brain is a muscle that requires exercise. Just because you’ve been around the sun more than most people doesn’t give you a pass to stop learning. If anything, it’s a reason to continue and learn something new. You don’t have to pick up advanced calculus, but card games, crossword puzzles, trivia, and tinkering with technology keep the mind in shape. Many places offer classes for older people to learn new things together. Want to learn about wine? How about metalsmithing, poetry, or photography? Do a little research and go try something new.

Stay active! Full mobility doesn’t get any easier as you get older, but it’s important to stay active in any ways that you can. Maybe triathlons are out of the question (although, if you can, go for it), but some level of physical activity helps avoid the temptation of becoming sedentary. Go for walks, get outside in the garden, volunteer or do work with a local charity. Maybe even get a part-time job with low physical stress. These are a few simple ways to keep your joints oiled and feet moving.

Isolation is an easy pit to fall into with age. We’re talking about elderly independence, not isolation. Get out there and be the social butterfly we know you are. Have people over for lunch, dinner, and drinks, go dancing, go to a baseball game, get out to that new restaurant that just opened. The possibilities are endless. They just require the deliberate effort of getting up and really doing it.

Elderly independence is very much about looking into your varying needs as you age. Everyone is a little different, but the concept remains the same across the board. Mind, body, and soul need to be cultivated as you grow in age. Look out for these and you’ll be drinking from the fountain of youth we all have within us.

elderly independence

Buying A Mobility Scooter? Don’t Neglect These Essential Considerations (Part 1)


Approximately 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to aid their mobility. One of the most common devices intended to improve mobility and overall elderly independence is a mobility scooter. Mobility scooters are useful for a wide variety of situations and lifestyles, but before you purchase one for yourself or a loved one, it’s important to make some critical considerations to avoid buying the wrong type. Here’s part one of our guide that will address some of the most important considerations to make when buying a mobility scooter for elderly independence.

Scooter Weight
First and foremost, it’s important to realize that mobility scooters, just like people, come in many shapes and sizes. While some scooters are intended for lower weights, others are heavy-duty and can easily handle the weight of any person. Of course, make sure the scooter you choose has a weight limit that well exceeds the weight of the person who will be using it. This is to accommodate for any extra items the person may be holding or carrying, from groceries and personal items to medical equipment such as an oxygen tank.

Physical Capabilities
It’s also essential to examine the physical capabilities of the person who will be using the scooter. For example, the person will need to be able to sit upright for potentially long periods of time. They’ll also need to have the strength and dexterity in their arms and hands to safely and properly operate the scooter.

If the person who will be using the scooter doesn’t meet these physical capabilities, there are other options: positioning pads can make the seating more comfortable and increase the time they can use the scooter. If the person using the scooter needs to have their legs elevated, it may be better to look into a power wheelchair, which is controlled with a joystick on an armrest that can be used with one hand.

Ultimately, understanding these aspects of scooter use and your personal accessibility standards can help you make the right purchasing decision for all scooters and electric wheelchairs. Keep an eye out for the next post, where we’ll discuss some more essential considerations to keep in mind when investing in an electric mobility device for your varying needs.