I've seen a bath seat that is half in the tub and half out in the room ... you sit on it and swing your legs over and into the tub and sit on it to bathe. I didn't study it or ask the homeowner about it, so don't know if it's practical or not, nitnana.
We had bars installed outside the tub on the wall.
For the best security grab bars really should be in a stud. What my DH did when he installed them, he installed a board horizontally across 2-3 studs and put the grab bars in them.
This is not a DIY project but for a skilled handyman it is a snap. He/she will use a stud finder to determine where the stud is behind the fiberglass and drill trough. It is a good idea to have grab bars inside the tub/shower (in case you felt like you might fall) and outside to assist in getting in and out.
I have 2 large grab bars in my shower stall. They have suction cups on the ends. I have been using them for years.
NOT CRAZY at all.
There are options. The "chair" used in the tub is half in the tub and half outside the tub. So you can "slide" across the seat to get out. My Mom used one. It works ok. And if your shower has the shower head on the long cable to use to rinse with you can be OK.
GRAB BARS: YES they should be installed into stubs. There are many styles. I have one on the outside edge of my walk in shower. I LOVE the security it gives me getting in or out. Call a licensed plumber to have them properly installed. You don't want to rely on a grab bar and have it pull out of the wall.
And they can be added over the poly-whatever that shower walls are made of. But again I would use a professional. Home Depot and Lowes offer these services also.
Read options on line in the DIY sections. YouTube may also give you info.
I would check with bathroom installers. We have a grab bar in our tub that goes through the wall into the studs. No need for a stud outside the wall.
You are right. I have one horizontal which serves to dry my swimsuit, etc. It has what is called PEEN finish. Think of it as scraped. It's roughened so it is grabby with wet hands. I got it at a big box hardware store. I also bought am OVER THE TUB grab thing. It just tightens on. I use both to get on and out.
I just had a hip replacement and got one of these seats and love it. I also have a grab bar installed just inside the tub. It's a suction cup type. I have a fiberglass tub so that's all I could do. I've had it for many years and have never had a problem with it. Just don't get a cheap one. It's worth the extra money. Also just a small one that is enough to hold onto holds a lot better.
Some of these would not work if there are shower doors.
When we moved to our condo (just over a year ago, and shortly after my husband's stroke and stay at hospital therapy unit), we had builder leave off the planned glass shower door (I hate glass anyway) so I use a standard shower rod and curtain. We had them install grab bars in the shower at 3 spots as recommended by therapists--horizontal ones under the shower head and closer to the built-in bench, and a vertical one on the tiled wall as you step into walk in shower. He has improved enough that he doesn't need to sit down in there anymore, but it's still great place to hang the bench pad and suction rug. The vertical one is useful for both of us, and very sturdy because builder put into stud. Another suggestion from therapists was also followed--horizontal bars on each side of the toilet (which is in it's own little room--water closet). The bars weren't cheap, because we wanted something that matched faucets, etc. but they are nice looking and very helpful--a great source of security for now and future.
Before we moved in to the condo, we got the "transfer bench" also mentioned by other people. It was the only way we could get him into the shower-over-tub in small bathroom. If you this arrangement, it really works well--as someone else said, it was placed with 2 legs in tub and 2 outside on the floor, which made it more sturdy than completely inside the slippery tub. And, it's lightweight, so I could move it out of that small bathroom when his shower was over.
I have grab bars with suction cups in both the bathtub and the stall shower. It's best to thoroughly clean the smooth area they will be attached to as well as the suction cups, then also wipe the areas and cups with alcohol, which will ensure that the suction cups will hold more securely. Even so, I always test them before I get in to make sure they are still holding well.
I've tried three different stools for the stall shower and tub, and for me they were more hassle than help.