Grab Bars No Excuse!

Age Safe® Canada Declares Grab Bars Are The New Seat Belts.

Age Safe® Canada urges greater adoption of grab bars to reduce preventable injuries and the rising costs associated with older adult falls. There was a time many didn’t think seat belts were necessary either.

Baby Boomers are a generation that remembers cars without seat belts or clicking them closed and sitting on top of them. In the late 60’s there were many misconceptions around seat belts such as saying that seat belts would prevent passengers from escaping their cars if submerged in water or in the case of a fire. Some even felt it was actually safer to be thrown from a car in an accident. Today literally everyone agrees that seat belts are an effective injury-reducing device that saves lives; and so do grab bars.

By taking the simple action of installing grab bars, Canadians can significantly reduce trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults, and the skyrocketing cost of fall-related injuries.

As senior safety advocates and healthcare professionals we all have a responsibility to make it clear to our family, friends and clients that grab bars are not an option, they are a mandatory device for preserving independence.

The story of seat belts seems to mirror grab bar usage in that of convincing Canada’s aging demographic to use them. With grab bars, an often heard misconception is, “they look institutional”. In recent years that old argument has been glamorously overcome with a myriad of tasteful and decorative designs and colors, including various finishes such as brushed nickel and polished chrome. Today even basic bathroom accessories such toilet paper dispensers and towel racks have been redesigned with ADA compliant weight capabilities. Grab bars prevent falls and potential injuries by allowing a person to “grab” them during an emergency or in case of dizziness or loss of balance. Getting up and down from the toilet seat or in and out of the shower can be a real challenge when age, balance, strength or a disability are an issue.

Age Safe Canada, a national membership, training, advocacy and services organization dedicated to fall prevention and home safety, believes it is critical that families install grab bars as an essential means to making their homes safer for everyone.

“We passionately believe there is simply NO EXCUSE not to take charge of fall prevention measures in your own home or an aging parents home. Falls have become epidemic in Canada, resulting in injury, long-term disability and premature loss of independence. Installing grab bars is an obvious solution to preventable injuries,” says Steven Bailey, Managing Director for Age Safe America. He added that modifications such as installing grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower as well as next to the toilet, or adding railings on both sides of a stairwell or hallway may best be done by a qualified handyman or contractor.

There is little more that Canadians cherish more then home ownership and their independence. Our older generations have lived through a rapidly changing world and deserve to live safely in their own comforts. A fall can change all that which is why as senior safety advocates we have a responsibility to make it clear to family, friends and clients that Grab Bars are not an option…they are a mandatory part of a safe home”
Jim Closs, National Director, Age safe Canada

Over the years, America’s two oldest generations have had quite a love affair with the automobile. Giant fins gave way to muscle cars and the VW Beetle, but until seat belts were widely accepted and even made mandatory in 49 states, thousands died in preventable traffic fatalities. “We believe the message, Grab Bars Are The New Seat Belts, is a uniquely impactful memory to this group; who today would not think to drive without buckling-up. Hopefully this campaign will motivate us all to take steps now to reduce preventable fall injuries in the home, for our own sake and the safety of our aging parents,” said Fritzi Gros-Daillon. Chief Advocacy Officer for Age Safe America.

Advancing Successful Aging at Home™

“We are coming into a senior population explosion that is unprecedented in history. We will need an army of educated and compassionate advocates to assist them with dignity and integrity. Age Safe America will help train and empower this army.”

Steven A. Bailey

Founder/Managing Director