Woman holding grab bar in bathroom

A new initiative from Close the Gap in Senior Care hopes to install grab bars in up to 650 houses across the country. The initiative, called “Grab the Bars,” is a collaboration with Lowe’s Livable Home.

“So many of our nominees are on a fixed income and cannot afford to purchase and install this simple solution, leaving them vulnerable to falls,” Close the Gap in Senior Care President Jeff Salter explained.

The goal of the “Grab the Bars” initiative is to raise enough money to install grab bars in houses of individuals who do not have the resources to do so on their own. The initiative plans to specifically target bathrooms as the location for the grab bars — a logical location as 80% of falls occur in the bathroom, Salter said. Every nominee’s house will receive two grab bars, with Lowe’s Livable Home carrying out the installations. (Lowe’s Livable Home is a service provided by the retail giant Lowe’s that aims to create accessible homes for people of all ages.)  

The No. 1 cause of fatal injury in older Americans are falls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Most long-term care and senior living facilities have grab bars already installed. For seniors who want to continue to live at home, technology like grab bars is invaluable to their safety.

“A large percentage of people want to remain at home if possible and to make that a solution that can last for people is important,” he said. 

Close the Gap in Senior Care is the nonprofit arm of Caring Senior Service. The organization launched last year when Salter rode almost 9,500 miles across the country on an electric bike and visited and held events at 50 different senior caring locations. The effort brought community leaders, individuals involved in senior care, and local activists together to “talk about and understand what the gaps are in their local communities,” said Salter, who is also founder and CEO of Caring Senior Service.

“The Close the Gap movement is whatever the community sees that they need to focus on,” he added.

In many of these communities, the focus is on the installation of grab bars. Thus, Close the Gap in Senior Care has made it a fundraising priority.

“Our cost for doing this is around $250 per bathroom, so someone individually could donate and help us to bring a solution for at least one senior,” Salter said.

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