How To Choose A Toilet For The Elderly

image of elderly couple discussing how to pick a toilet for seniors

The older you get, the harder it is to use a traditional toilet. Your muscles begin to deteriorate, causing you to notice that your strength is not what it used to be. This occurrence makes everyday tasks much harder, including something as routine as going to the bathroom. To help senior citizens live comfortably, taller toilets and numerous accessories and plumbing fixtures have been created. So how do you know if you need one in your home? This article discusses how to choose a toilet for elderly.

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Signs That Seniors Need New Toilets

  • They use the bathroom more often
  • They often experience constipation
  • They find it difficult to stand up from a sitting position
  • They have foot, leg, thigh, knee, back, hip, or joint problems

Related Article: 7 Ways To Unclog Your Toilet Without A Plunger

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Toilet for Seniors

image of things to consider depicting how to pick a toilet for elderly

Determining what kind of toilet is best for senior citizens requires more thought than simply selecting a “tall toilet” or one marketed as the “right height.” It is crucial to consider certain factors, such as the height and shape of the bowl, overall style, flushing technology, comfort, and ease of use.

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Figure Out the Right Height

Tall toilets may help some people stand up with less effort, but they are not ideal for all individuals. Those on the shorter side might find it tough to stand up from a tall toilet, especially if their feet do not rest comfortably on the floor when they are sitting on it. Take into account the height of the person that will be using the toilet and check specifications carefully.

Some companies note the height of the toilet from the floor to the rim because the seat comes separately. In this case, add 1-2 inches to compensate for the height of the seat itself. If the person using the toilet is in a wheelchair, you will want to select a toilet that measures about the same height as the wheelchair seat so they can comfortably navigate from one spot to the other.

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Decide on the Shape of the Bowl

image of a toilet seat

Typically, toilet bowls can be either round or elongated like an oval. Round bowls are more circular and are often found in older residences, while elongated seats are oval and more modern. Elongated toilets are becoming more prevalent due to the additional sitting surface area they provide, which adults usually find more comfortable. The downside is that elongated toilets take up more room. If you have a smaller bathroom or you need to accommodate a wheelchair, scooter, or walker, a round toilet may be a better choice.

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Select the Right Style

Similar to bowl shape, toilets come in two basic styles: one-piece or two-piece. A one-piece toilet is a seamless unit where the toilet’s tank and bowl are fused. There are hardly any crevices where things can get stuck or messes can seep in, which makes them much easier to clean. Additionally, they are usually easier to install because they do not require any assembly. However, they typically cost more than traditional toilets.

Two-piece toilets require a bolt to attach the tank to the bowl. They are cheaper than one-piece toilets and are also far more common. Since the tank and bowl come apart, installation is easier for a single person to complete on his or her own, and maintenance tends to be cheaper. The downsides are that two-piece toilets are not as easy to keep clean and are far more likely to leak.

Related Article: Benefits Of Replacing Old Plumbing Fixtures

Think About How You Prefer to Flush

dual flush toilet

Most toilets utilize a gravity-feed flush, so when you push down on the handle or button, the tank releases the water into the bowl, and gravity removes the waste simultaneously. While simple and convenient, this type of toilet tends to clog more than others. Also, homes that do not have adequate water pressure may often experience the need to flush twice to completely clear all the waste from the bowl. The biggest downside is that this utilizes a lot more water than necessary.

One type of gravity-feed toilet is the dual-flush model, which provides the option to remove either liquid or solid waste. These eco-friendly models will have either two handles or two buttons. However, these toilets are not so prevalent that everyone automatically knows how to use them, and they may confuse senior citizens. They are also more expensive than the traditional option.

Pressure-assisted toilets come with a plastic tank within the toilet tank that harbors some water along with pressurized air. They use less water than gravity-feed toilets, clog less often, and do not perspire because the water is separate from the porcelain tank. The downside is that they are more expensive to purchase, more difficult to fix, and much louder when they flush.

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Weigh the Pros and Cons of Comfort and Ease of Use

Once you have decided which toilet you will get, think about the comfort level. You can purchase cushioned toilet seats that are softer while sitting and warmer during the cold winter months. They also cushion sound so if the seat or lid is dropped or slammed, it will not invoke a startle response that can throw seniors off balance. You may also want to install grab bars next to the toilet, or a special seat with grab bars attached, to offer more stability and support for standing and sitting.

Related Article: 7 Warning Signs Your Home Needs Repiping

Final Thoughts

Purchasing a new toilet for a senior citizen might seem like a massive undertaking, but your effort will be appreciated multiple times a day, every day. Life is hard enough when your mobility diminishes, so anything that helps a senior’s quality of life should be done. Go step by step to ensure you cover all your bases, then take the plunge and select the best toilet for your senior’s household.

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