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I want to replace the truly awful mat that was in the tub in my parents’ house with something safer and less prone to mold. Was considering the Gorilla Grip mat but wanted some input here. We have a tub/shower with sliding doors. Not something I can change right now, but I need to make the best of what we have. Also, are suction grab bars with color indicators safe to use?

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Wow I never thought my question would prompt such a great discussion. So I’ll definitely not use those suction grab bars. I will probably have to get something professionally installed. I installed all of the other grab bars in the house, but they were easy to do because they were on door frames (old house, 3 inch thick solid wood on both sides). Actually, I do have sliding glass doors, but the good news is that if I remove those, I can place at least one bar where the vertical track is installed.
It’s true about the danger of towel racks. When I installed the toilet riser with hand rails for my dad prior to his coming home from rehab, my mom (who was in pretty good shape back then) said she really appreciated that because she’d been using the towel rack to pull herself up!
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moecam WATERSHOES what an excellent idea. Thank you :)

Found similar on Amazon, Going to get a pair each. Yippee will feel safe again.
I already have a shower seat.
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Llamalover...
The shower I have is a walk in shower and the walker was easier for us.
I tried a seat in the shower and he was resistant. Only was able to get him seated when I began to seat him in the shower chair right out of bed then wheeled him into the shower.
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I had grab bars installed in my mom's bathroom. She sure did not want to drill holes in that beautiful tile. Mom lost, day care was a very good thing. We had the bars professionally installed. He spent about fifteen minutes trying to locate studs. He never did. We finally realized this is a 50's era rancher built of cinder block. Wood was too expensive and hard to find.

Get a shower chair!
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Grab bars can also be put at an angle so they catch studs at each end & have an experienced person install them

I personally wear water shoes in tub & when I go to a pool [4 X a week] so that I don't slip - as a person moves around they can walk off the mat - the mat is a source of mold unless it is aired well & often - my water shoes go wherever my foot goes & they dry fast - mine cover my foot to just below my ankle, have holes for drainage, are easy to get on & off due to side zipper, float if I'm not wearing them & made of soft plastic - to have them plus a mat might cover lots of bases
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Craigslist, Facebook has local groups that sell anything... people are selling used items for a fraction of new cost all the time. I invested not only to make life safer for my Mother but also easier on me. Shower chair, portable commode, hospital bed, transport wheelchair, exterior ramp, etc. Usually, when parents are over 75, the adult children aren't spring chickens, therefore, think of how a small investment helps both, caregiver and loved one.
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Grandma1954: daybyday's slider is not glass. Why would you use a walker in a shower stall when shower seats are available at an elder supply store, making it "more difficult" for your LO?
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BUZZYBee...
I did not have wheels on the walker that I place in the shower. I had 4 rubber tips on the walker. Made it a little more difficult for him to walk with that walker but I was looking for stability not mobility. Once the shower was done I swapped the walker without wheels for his regular walker. I would have him stand next to the grab bar that I had placed on the wall. It was a long one about 36 inches and it was rather low so he could easily hold it. Also placing it low when he was in a wheelchair later it was at the perfect height for him to grab onto so he could move himself forward. I would dry him off and get him partially dressed. Shirt, briefs pants, shoes and socks were done in the bedroom. Later when he was mostly chair bound all dressing was done in the bathroom.
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Agree with Lamalover that using a walker in the shower is not a good idea.
The comment about the grab bars not fitting between the studs is legitimate. they can be installed vertically as well. zip they have to be horizontally it is possible to install a 2X4 screwed to the studs and attach the bar to that. if you are adding a new bathroom before you put up the drywall install the 2X4 between the studs
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BuzzyBee: I don't condone the use of a walker in the tub/shower.
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I have a gripper handle that goes on the side of the tub,, has a handle that you use to tighten it, and we use it for mom at the river. Got it from a home care company. We remove it when we are not there so it dosent crack the tub.. but it is about 3 feet tall and works great so far. The suction cup handles fall off and seem dangerous to me. When MIL was still in her own home we had a professional install grab bars. She once tried to get off the toilet at the river and grabbed the towel rack.. it was not pretty.
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daybyday27: Since you said that you have a tub/shower with sliding glass doors, your best option for safety would be to purchase a small, removable shower seat. My late mother had one and it was a great safety feature.
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Grandma1954 would that walker work in the bath if you took the wheels off? And may be a second one to climb out to (if able)

Mmm got me thinking :)
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I was impressed AT FIRST with the suction grab bars but that quickly changed when they no longer held their grip after about 1 month. And you need to check them daily.
I would have traditional grab bars installed. (interesting thing I found was grab bars that I could find in the "big box hardware stores" did not properly size with the studs in the house. Studs being 16 inches you would think that they would come 16 then 32 inches long and they don't so you have to buy special anchors or mount them on an angle)
The other thing I would do right away is remove the slider glass doors and replace with a shower curtain. The glass will shatter if the bar that is used to open and close as well as hang a towel on is used as a grab bar.
Also if there is a towel bar on the wall near the bathtub/shower remove the towel bar and replace it with a grab bar. (I caught my Husband several times using the towel bar to steady himself.)

As far as non slip mats or strips for the bottom of the tub I used strips that are normally placed on the foot step part of a lawn tractor. They are much more "grippy" than the usual strips you find. The ones I found were black. Not real "pretty" but they are visible and that helped as he knew where to stand.

One of the things you might want to consider is getting a shower bench or chair
or
I used to get used walkers from the resale shops (never paid more than $3.00 for one) and I would keep that walker in the shower so he would have something stable to hold onto while he was in the shower. (This was a shower not a tub shower though so there was more room.)
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I would be getting professional advice from the disability people.
From my experience you think your fixing one problem but you cause another.
These people know of what's available & new trends.
Good Luck
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NO NO NO!
Those Suction Cup Grab Bars are fine to steady you - but they are NOT safe to support you. You can buy support bars online and in Lowes/Walmart - so many stores. Then attach them with Molly-Bolts and for the tub, find someone that knows how to do it.

I have 2 in my tub, one on the wall across from the toilet, one on top of the sink cabinet and one on the door that I blocked open. My DH uses all of them. The one on the wall had to be attached with molly-bolts - the ones in the walk-in shower, the contractor set boards behind the walls for the extra support when he converted my tub to a walk-in shower.

I repeat - the suction cup grab bars are NOT support bars.
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I bought my mother an extended shower chair that she sits down outside the tub, swings her legs in and sits down. I got an extended 6-foot hose for the shower head. Best investment. Walmart sells it also but I bought hers via craigslist for $10. Personally, when they are up in age, sitting is the best protection against injuries. I would try to remove the glass doors and replace with a shower curtain. I purchased a bow curtain rod which really gives better arm room in the shower
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I tried several brands of suction grab bars. I think they are dangerous because they actually aren't designed to be pulled on, just for balance. But how do you ensure that the elder using them won't keep pulling on them rather than just using them for balance? The ones I tried, in fact, always fell off on their own at some point. Luckily they fell that way, rather than while my husband was using them. It's a pain, but I would suggest getting a real grab bar installed and then everyone is safe.
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I know u all don't agree but I used a suction bar for Mom and had no problem. I had a man pull on it and it never came off the wall. Mine has a lever on it that makes the suction really strong. It may not be a permanent solution but it worked for my Mom until her bathroom was done which had two bars. One walking into the shower and one on the wall.
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Here is my experience.
Never use suction hand rails they never hold.
Suction bath mats do work as long as they are firmly adhered to the tub bottom. They should be taken out of the tub when not in use to allow them to dry and prevent mold. i have had a suction mat slip but luckily I came to no harm.
Wall mounted bars MUST be properly installed and screwed to the wall studs. New rails are usually packed with the correct screws.
If you need to screw through existing ceramic tile do as others have suggested and have it professionally installed or if capable purchase the appropriate drill bit. These drill bits blunt very easily so to reduce the chance of cracking a tile purchase a new one for each installation. Not difficult to do if you have some skills and the equipment.
When bathing make sure hands are dry before pulling on a rail to minimize slipping.
Also as someone suggested the non sip strips properly installed in a tub will last for many years.. Again they have to be kept clean because they can become slippery.
I always let the tub drain before trying to get out so if i do slip and become unconscious i won't drown!
Right now i would love a soak in the tub but am too weak to safely get out of the tub. I can get in OK but not enough strength in the arms and legs. What I am thinking of doing is screwing a trapeze bar into the ceiling to pull myself up on.
For now I content myself with using a shower seat and kneeling to wash my hair. I can get up from kneeling by pulling on the shower seat. By the way I hate showers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Any bath mats must have a rubber backing and be hung up when not in use.
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If you are concerned about installing grab bars improperly, many senior councils have programs that provide the installation of such things. Qualified people came into mom's home and installed grab bars free of charge. Note: there usually is a process of signing your loved one up for this kind of help. Call your council on aging or county senior service organization.
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I think a good washable bath mat is the only way to avoid mold. Wet surfaces just get ikky. Check online and read reviews, I have a soft mat with loads of suction cups, my 300lb dad can use with no problems, he is a bit unstable and I can pull out and throw right into washing machine as it is flexible, air dry has worked best for me, rubber and drier scare me.
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Drilling through ceramic is much more difficult than drilling through wood because you may crack the tile. However, you could teach yourself to drill through old tiles by adhering similar tiles to plywood with construction adhesive. Also, youtube has 1000s of DIY videos.
Buy the right type of drill bit in the right size screws. The drill bits are most often labeled for the type of surface. You want the one labeled for ceramic tile.
If you are still not confident about doing it yourself, then hire a handyman.

Another tip: I replaced my cloth bathmat with a brightly colored bathtub mat (with suction cups). Now I can confidently step out of the shower without worry. You could also use a long bathtub mat to cover more of your bathroom floor.
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For drilling tile pick up a drill bit made for tile at the hardware or big box store. Hammer drills and masonry bits will work but could crack the tile.
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Great topic! After looking at grab bars a couple years ago, I decided to go with this (on Amazon): “North American Healthcare - Bath Step, Supports Up to 500 lbs, Non-slip grip.” Mom said she does feel secure using it, and you can read the reviews. Not sure if it’ll fit your situation, but here it is just in case. Good luck!
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Thanks everyone. I agree with your thoughts about the suction bars. Just thought maybe someone had found one that worked. Good thoughts on making the tub non-slip. Will give that a try!
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The suction cup grab bars come OFF when pulled on really hard! My DH installs ADA grab bars in restaurants, hotels, etc. He uses a special drill bit that will not bust the tile , uses extra long screws that must go into the wall studs. That's it. There is no other way that is safe.
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I wouldn't want to entrust my safety to a suction cup no matter how many endorsements they seem to get, I've never had any kind stay stuck for the long term.
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I concur about the suction grab bars. I don't even want to try them. I've tried plenty of suction things in the shower and they never work well. I suggest you mount a real bar into the studs. If you have tile, there is a technique you have to use to keep from cracking the entire tile. I would try on a spare tile, the little squares are like 20 cents, to get the technique down before trying on your shower tile.

As for a non-slip mat, I've found that the stick on non-slip tape is much less maintenance. Put on right, it lasts years if not decades. Some of it in my parent's tub I put on when I was a kid. It's been there 40-50 years. Still works. Even better, you can hire someone to etch the smooth service into a rough service. It's what hotels do. Then the whole bottom of the tub is non-slip. This only works with a porcelain tub and not fiberglass.
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My renovation contractor said that they have to be mounted in the studs for maximum safety with extra long wood screws. I had a fiber glass shower wall. He used a stud finder and then drilled through wall to stud, then placed wood screw. He used an epoxy patch on the outside shower wall around the edge where the screw was placed. Local agency on Aging said the suction grab bars are not safe.
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