I guess my question is "what makes it a grab bar?"
It seems to me there are two different aspects, and I would like to figure out if they can be separated.
There's the diameter of the cylinder that you grab, which is always "fatter" in grab bars than in towel bars. Then there's the anchoring aspect, to make sure they don't pull out of the wall when used to bear a persons weight.
I understand that for "universal" access, the bars are large in diameter. But what if you just wanted something to stabilize you when stepping over a tub rim, for example? Or even something that could be grabbed if you had a dizzy spell. Couldn't you have something that looked more like what we'd think of as a towel bar, but that would be securely anchored into a stud in the wall?
We will have a curbless shower and a soaking tub, but this is for a house we plan to retire to, so it is always possible that mobility could become an issue. (If one of us is in a wheelchair, we'd probably need to move to a less rural location anyway, so we are not looking for an ADA bathroom.) Would appreciate your thoughts.