If there’s one thing that makes me feel uneasy when I leave my mom at home alone, it’s the trouble she has standing up. Although she’s still more than capable of walking around unassisted, there are times when getting out of a chair can be a struggle, especially if there’s nothing around to hold onto. She’ll hate me for saying this, but I’ve even had to help her off the Ivory throne on occasion.
What is a transfer pole?
A transfer pole aids seniors in safely pulling themselves up from a seated position, as well as providing a stable place to grab on to while standing.
They’re typically tension-mounted, meaning they expand between the floor and ceiling to a point where the tension alone keeps the pole securely in place. No drilling. No screws. No mess. More importantly, this type of installation allows you to move the pole between locations quite easily.
Recommended Floor to Ceiling Transfer Poles
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that a company named “Stander” would hold the title (at least in our mind) of the best transfer pole for seniors.
But seriously. This thing is a game changer.
First off, the Stander Security Pole is super easy to install. It’s height adjustable and comes with an extension piece, allowing it fit 7 to 10 feet between the floor and ceiling. While it is tension-mounted, it also comes with optional hardware to permanently secure the pole in place. This really isn’t necessary though – you could practically pole dance on this thing as is. In fact, it’s rated to hold up to 300 pounds, even without screwing it into the ceiling.
My favorite thing about this transfer pole is its curved grab bar. Think of it as the difference between climbing a ladder versus a pole on a playground. Unless you’re some sort of monkey, the ladder is going to be a lot easier to climb. You don’t have to use nearly as much strength to pull yourself up with a horizontal hand position as you do a vertical one. That’s exactly the benefit that this ergonomically designed grab bar provides. It also rotates and locks into place to make it easy to access from multiple positions.
We actually ended up purchasing three of these for my mom – one beside her bed, one next to her reading chair, and one in the bathroom. Let’s just say that the one in the bathroom has paid for itself multiple times over. You really can’t put a price on dignity!
If you’re looking to save a bit of money, Stander also makes a basic security pole without the additional curved grab bar.
All the specs on this pole are the same as the one discussed above: designed for 7 to 10 foot ceilings; 300 pound weight capacity; optional installation screws.
However, this transfer pole does have one thing that I wish was on the slightly more expensive model – foam padding. The middle of the pole has about two feet of foam, providing a much more comfortable grip. It also acts as a non-slip surface, which is particularly important for a completely vertical pole.
Unlike the other security poles reviewed here, this one by Signature Life is designed to work on slanted ceilings. This is a huge benefit for those with anything but a perfectly flat surface to work with. Note that for slanted installations, you’ll need to screw the H-frame into the ceiling to ensure it doesn’t slip.
This model is pretty much the Cadillac of transfer poles. It’s quite a bit more expensive, but you really do get all the bells and whistles.
It has two independently adjustable, horizontal hand grips – both which come with foam padding. While the padding is definitely a bonus, it’s the fact that these hand grips are height adjustable that really makes this product top-of-the-line. They can be placed literally anywhere along the length of the support pole, providing a lot more flexibility.
The Signature Life Sure Stand Pole has the same expansion and weight rating as the other models reviewed here (7’ to 10’, 300 lbs), but has an available 2’ extension piece that can be used to reach a 12’ ceiling. This piece is sold separately, but it’s nice to have the option.
To top it off, this product even looks great – which says a lot for a home care product made for seniors. You get to choose between an anodized dark bronze or metallic gray finish, making it almost look like a decorative piece. Almost.
Guardian Safe-T-Pole by Medline
If you’re looking to keep costs down and can get by with something a bit more basic, this vertical grab bar from Medline is perfectly suitable.
It has a slightly smaller height range than most – 7.8 feet to 8.2 feet – but the average ceiling height falls within this anyway. It also ‘only’ holds up to 250 pounds, but again, still well over what most elderly individuals require.
One downside to this product is that although it’s tension mounted, the screw location is at the top of the pole (as opposed to the middle, like the Stander poles). This means you’ll probably need a chair or stepladder to fully secure it.
Other than that, this is a very stable pole and gets the job done at half the price. Definitely check it out.