The best type of toilet seats for seniors have a few characteristics.
- They are higher than the standard size toilet seats
- They have handles and hand grips attached to the seat or on the nearby wall
We have a friend whose mother has mobility challenges. She is unable to get up to a standing position from her traditional toilet.
Luckily, her husband is currently able to pull her up but as we have witnessed this exchange, we have to wonder not only how long can he do this, but how long before he injures himself doing this?
And then what?
The solution of course, is to raise the toilet seat. There are several excellent options for this purpose, which we’ll discuss in the sections below.
What Is The Best Toilet Seat Height For The Elderly?
A regular toilet seat is typically between 15 and 16 inches. This is measured from the floor to the top of the toilet seat.
The best toilet seat height for an older adult, however, is 17 to 19 inches high. Higher toilets allow them to sit down and stand up without having to strain their muscles.
It also provides enough support so that elderly people don’t feel unsteady when using the toilet.
While 17 to 19 inches is the ideal height, it’s not always possible to find a toilet seat that is exactly this size. If you can’t find a seat in this range, try to get one that is as close as possible.
For example, a 16-inch seat would be better than a 20-inch seat unless the senior is very tall.
How Can I Make My Elderly Toilet Seat Higher?
Luckily, there are a few easy ways to add some height to your existing low toilet seat.
- One option (expensive) is to remove the standard commodes in the home and replace them with taller, comfort height toilets.
- A less pricey, less stress option is to simply install a padded, raised seat on top of your existing seat. This will add a couple of inches to the height of the toilet seat, it’s an easy installation, and the cushion will provide additional comfort.
- Another choice is to purchase a raised toilet seat that fits directly onto your toilet. These seats usually have handles for added safety, and they can provide a significant amount of height.
Let’s take a closer look at these options.
Add On Raised Toilet Seats
Toilet seat raisers are the least expensive and easiest to install. You simply fasten them to the toilet bowl in place of the original seat and it raises the height 3.5 inches.
This standard elevated toilet seat with handles is exactly the type of seat that I recommended. It’s inexpensive, easy to install and very safe to use.
NOTE: I would recommend that you measure the width of the space where the toilet is situated before you purchase a raised toilet seat with handle bars. I remember ordering a similar product for a patient when I was a practicing occupational therapist and when we went to install it – the space where the toilet was wouldn’t accommodate it.
If you need something that is even higher – try the Carex toilet seat riser that raises the height of the toilet by 5 inches.
Both of these are simple and elegant and very inexpensive.
Of course, some seniors require a bit more than just height when it comes to getting up from the toilet. Some will require a handle of some kind.
Well, you’re in luck because there are raised toilet seats that come equipped with toilet safety rails.
These are the models that I most often recommended to my patients.
Drive Medical Premium Raised Toilet Seat With Removable Arms
The support arms on this toilet seat make it easy for you to get up and go. You can pick from a standard, round bowl model or one for an elongated toilet, depending upon the dimensions of your toilet bowl.
It also includes simple installation instructions, as well as the wing nuts and long bolts required.
Be sure to measure your toilet seat before you order.
Carex Elongated Hinged Toilet Seat Riser
The Carex Toilet Seat Riser raises height of the toilet by 3.5 inches. This is the one that I chose for my mother and it worked out wonderfully.
This hinged toilet seat riser fits underneath your current toilet seat. It should fit both a standard toilet seat and most of the elongated ones. The weight capacity for this riser is 300 pounds.
It only requires a screwdriver to install – you remove the existing toilet seat, add in the riser, then attach your current commode seat on top and tighten the screws. That’s it!
PCP Raised Toilet Seat and Safety Frame
Most of us are very familiar with the raised toilet seats with frames like this model by PCP. We used to call these 3 in 1 commodes because you could use them over the toilet, as a shower chair and as a bedside commode chair.
This model comes preassembled and features a splash guard to aid in cleanliness. A toilet frame is fine to use but it does take up more floor space.
If your elderly parent has limited mobility or balance issues and uses a cane or a walker, the only problem to be aware of is that models with toilet safety rails like this one may increase their chances of falling because they can get “entangled” in the legs.
Vive Toilet Seat Riser with Handles
This toilet riser from Vive is available in both standard round toilet and elongated seat models. It fits under the existing seat and attaches with the included washers and screws.
I like that it has padded handles for extra comfort if the user has arthritis in their hands or fingers.
Samson Deluxe Bariatric Commode Chair
For seniors who need a toilet seat with a higher weight capacity, this bariatric model will support up to 600 pounds. It has a padded seat, plus padded armrests and a padded backrest.
It has 3-in-1 capability and can be used as a bedside toilet chair, shower seat, and of course as a regular raised toilet seat.
The seat is adjustable for height and measures 13.5 x 20.5 inches.
Finally, make sure that your bathroom is well-lit and free of any potential trip hazards, such as throw rugs. Improving the safety and accessibility of your bathroom will make it much easier for you to use the toilet, and can help reduce the risk of falls and injuries.