Commode seats can be useful items to have both on a temporary and long term basis.
They can be placed at bedside if getting to the bathroom at night is difficult or unsafe.
Or they can be placed over the toilet to provide an elevated seat as well as arms to push up from, both of which make toileting safer.
The great thing about a commode is that they are portable.
They can be used over the toilet to increase seat height and provide sturdy armrests but also used anywhere else in the home (ie. at the bedside at night).
They are easy to take along if seniors travel often or are visiting relatives.
Commodes can really improve safety and allow your elderly parent to be independent in their home for longer.
Commodes are designed for anyone with difficulties with strength, balance and endurance.
They are great if getting to the bathroom at night is risky for your elderly parent.
They can also be used on a level of the home where there is no bathroom and it's difficult for the elderly to manage the stairs.
There are few reasons that a commode would not be appropriate for the elderly.
Some come with wheels. They do not always lock well and can put a person at risk for falls.
Other older versions have a releasing mechanism for the armrest that can be easily bumped and the armrest can fall away. These also can put seniors at risk.
I do not generally recommend commodes with wheels. Often caregivers use them as a way to wheel someone around. This is not safe as commodes are not meant for this purpose. If an elderly person requires transport, they should be using a wheelchair.
Here are the recommended features for a regular everyday commode:
There are exceptions to every rule and there are different types of commodes that will be appropriate for some situations.
Commodes come from quite simple to quite specialized.
1) Standard, No Wheels
The most simple version is the type with no wheels (standard) and a sleeve and bucket.
2) Commode with Wheels
There are regular commode seats with wheels (though these are not always the safest option).
3) Commode with Tilt
There are also commodes that tilt for people with severe balance issues and difficulty maintaining an upright sitting position. These types often roll as they might be used in a care facility and need to be easily portable (they are also MUCH heavier than regular commodes so cannot be picked up and moved).
4) For Shower Use
Some commodes are designed for use in a shower stall and are much like a shower wheelchair but with a commode opening.
Seat height - Make sure the legs can be adjusted to the right seat height... the Goldilocks rule. Not too low that the senior has a hard time getting on and off but also not too high that their feet are not touching the floor.
Width make sure the commode seats are wide enough for your elderly loved one. If not, then also be sure to check the weight limit.
Weight limit - Make sure the intended user's weight is within the weight limit for the design you purchase.
There are two main uses:
They can cost anywhere between $60 and $250 depending on the quality. Some come with both a pail (with lid) and a sleeve (for use over the toilet).
Specialized commode seats with tilting mechanisms can cost anywhere up to +$3000.
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