Design of a new grab bar for older adults
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Toilet grab bars were intended to facilitate independent and safe toilet transfer for people with different abilities. However, standard grab bars require too much effort from older adults who typically transfer to the toilet in a standing position rather than a sitting position. Among existing grab bars, grab bars on both sides of the toilet worked best for older adults because they allowed older adults to use both arms to get on and off the toilet. However, based on our observation, these grab bars were not effective to assist older adults to get in and out of the wheelchair. Additionally, these grab bars are too far apart that older adults have to use their shoulders rather than arms, which arise problems because shoulder are typically weaker than arms. This study intends to solve this problem by developing a new grab bar which would be safer, easier and more comfortable to use. Based on the literature review, analysis of existing grab bars and observation, a new concept of grab bars was generated and a functional prototype was constructed for user testing. The prototype was proved to be safe, easy and comfortable to use in the entire transfer process and it reduced the use of wheelchairs as well.