It is hard to imagine how something as simple and common as going to the toilet can become a physical challenge later in life, but for many people the toilet can become increasingly difficult to use in its standard form. A combination of a weaker and less mobile muscles and joints, blood pressure problems and general frailty can make using the bathroom difficult, and many older people need a helping hand. So today we look at the options available to help people stay independent at home for as long as possible.
Why Help Is Needed
As we get older we can experience problems with low blood pressure in general, and this is often worse when using a toilet. Constipation and the associated straining can leave you feeling weak, and if there is a vasovagal response, it is possible for blood pressure to drop so much that a person may faint. Defecation syncope is the medical term for fainting while using the toilet, and while this may be a little known condition for most people, as many as one percent of all A&E visits are the result of this condition. The injury usually comes from the fall rather than the act of fainting itself.
As well as a sudden drop in blood pressure, weakening of the knees and hips can also make it harder to sit down and stand up from the toilet. Using the toilet requires a combination of partially undressing, turning, leaning forward and sitting. Conditions such as arthritis further complicate matters.
The simplest of toilet aids is the raised toilet seat. These are placed over an existing toilet seat to raise its height from between 2 and 6 inches. The benefit of these is that they reduce the distance a person needs to squat when sitting on the toilet, and also makes it much easier to stand up again. Some raised seats are higher at the back than the front to make a more comfortable sitting position and further help users get up. The Reach Toilet Seat is available in 2inch, 4inch and 6inch sizes, and comes with a lid.
The basic toilet seat raiser is only suitable if you have enough leg and core strength to stand up without needing support from your arms. When you need a helping hand, a raised toilet seat with armrests is the answer. These all-in-one solutions simply fit onto your existing seat and allow you to push yourself up, and steady yourself as you sit down – pictured is the Deluxe Toilet Seat Raiser with armrests.
If you do not wish to fit a raised toilet seat then another option is a free standing toilet frame. These height adjustable frames fit over the whole toilet and provide a raised seat with armrests. They provide much better support too so are an excellent choice for larger users.
If your toilet is by a wall then you may be able to make do with a single grab rail to help pull yourself up. However, it is safer and generally easier to have an arm support on each side.
Nobody wants to have to ask for help when using the toilet and these aids help keep your independence for as long as possible. View more CareCo toilet aids here,
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