Difficulty Getting On and Off The Toilet

by Fred
(USA)

My 83 year old father has difficulty getting on and off the toilet. He currently holds on to a towel rack and the bathroom counter. He uses a folding cane to get around but should probably use a walker.


I have looked at some of the options - riser seats, elevated toilet seats, bathroom grab bars and others.

What do you recommend?

REPLY from Caring-for-Aging-Parents.com:
This is a common problem for seniors/elderly. Bathroom safety is important.

The way to make it easier for seniors/elderly to get on and off of any surface is to raise the seat height and provide secure hand holds for them to push on.

You can raise the seat height of a toilet several ways:

1) Install a new taller toilet - Most home renovations stores sell these toilets. The best height is one that comes up to the back of the seniors knees. If there are several people living at the same home, than you may have to compromise or have bathrooms set up for each person.

2) Installation of elevated toilet seats - These are riser seats that attach to the existing toilet and increase the seat height. There are a wide variety of styles. I prefer ones that securely attach to the toilet as some simply rest on top and can be more of a hazard. See our web page for detailed information about elevated toilet seats.

3) Install a toil-evator or similar product - These are products that raise the whole toilet up. Similar to the riser but instead of raising just the seat, they raise the whole toilet. These are more aesthetically pleasing than risers but do cost more.

Once the seat height is raised, you should provide one or two secure places for the senior to hold onto while getting on/off.

This can be accomplished by installing bathroom grab bars beside the toilet or toilet safety rails.

The other alternate is to place commode seats over the toilet with a sleeve (rather than a bucket). This combines both raising the seat height as well as providing secure places to push up from. The main drawbacks are cleaning, durability and aesthetics.

It is always a good idea to try different set ups at the store or make sure you can return them to the store if they do not work well for your father (though most bathroom equipment can't be returned once it has been used for hygiene purposes so make sure to just try getting up and down, not actually using it).

Good luck with elderly safety in the bathroom!

Thank you,
Kevin

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