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Falls pose serious health risks for older individuals and for those with limited mobility due to a medical condition or medical disability. The bathroom is one of the places where falls occur most often in the home. You can take steps to protect yourself, your loved one or the person for whom you care. Installing a raised toilet seat is one simple way to improve the safety of the bathroom and lower the likelihood of falls.
The standard height of most toilets is around 15 inches, meaning that it is necessary to bend low to sit down on one properly. For a person with limited mobility due to pain or stiffness, bending can be very difficult, leading to a risk for falls. Raised toilet seats increase the height of the toilet, reducing the distance that a person must bend to use the facilities. The toilet seats are typically easy to install and do not require homeowners or owners of nursing homes and other facilities to invest in costly handicapped toilets or to make expensive modifications to the existing toilet.
There are two main types of raised toilet seats. The first type is the riser, which is installed beneath the existing seat on the toilet. The riser provides a stable base for the toilet seat, and it can be lifted for cleaning. Top-mounted raised seats are placed over the top of the existing toilet seat. Some seats simply snap into place, while others are held in place with brackets or bolts. Types that are anchored with hardware require more work for installation but often offer more stability than snap-on styles. Some top-mounted raised toilet seats have grab bars mounted on their sides that assist with transferring. If you do not purchase a model with integrated grab bars, you may want to consider installing grab bars around the toilet area to make it easier to use the facilities.
One of the most important considerations when it comes to selecting the right raised toilet seat is the height of the seat. Most seats are 3 to 5 inches thick. While you want a raised toilet seat to decrease the distance that you or your loved one must bend, raising the seat too much could pose a safety risk. Make sure that the person using the seat can still keep their feet flat on the floor to avoid over-raising. People who experience lower back pain or pain in their buttocks may require a padded toilet seat to ensure their comfort.
Before purchasing a raised toilet seat, be sure to consult a physician for advice about the ideal seat height. Patients with certain injuries or who have recently undergone procedures like a hip replacement may require special modifications. When you receive your new toilet seat or riser, be sure to read the installation instructions carefully to ensure that the seat is safe to use.
This summary is intended for general informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should read product labels. In addition, if you are taking medications, herbs, or other supplements you should consult with a qualified healthcare provider before taking any over-the-counter medication as they may interact with other medications, herbs, and nutritional products. If you have a medical condition, including if you are pregnant or nursing, you should speak to your physician before taking these products. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.