Using the toilet isn’t typically a topic for polite conversation, but let’s face it: when it comes to aging in place, no topic is off-limits.
While there is no such thing (yet) as an aging in place toilet, there are a number of products that not only assist with sitting and standing but can help maintain personal hygiene, as well.
From my own research and the feedback I’ve received throughout my many years of renovating for aging in place, I’ve compiled a list of five toilet products that do the most to help older adults live independently in their homes for a longer period of time.
One of the biggest challenges as we age is bending down safely. Any aging-in-place modification that can bring things closer to an older adult so bending and reaching are eliminated is going to add a lot of safety to daily tasks. Kohler’s Highline® Comfort Height® toilet does just that. By raising the seat up higher than a traditional toilet – similar to the height of a kitchen chair – older adults don’t have to bend down as far, reducing the chance of a fall.
Kohler’s Highline series has a modern style and unbeatable functionality. This particular toilet also includes Kohler’s Class Five® technology, which provides bulk waste flushing performance and best-in-class bowl cleanliness. It also meets the Environmental Protection Agency’s WaterSense program’s strict flushing performance guidelines – users can see a significant water savings of up to 16,500 gallons per year.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: As we get older, it can become much more difficult to sit down and stand back up. Replacing a standard toilet with one that sits up higher can make aging in place easier and safer.
American Standard’s Advanced Clean AC2.0 SpaLet™ Bidet Seat brings a whole new standard to cleansing and personal hygiene. The bidet seat features two self-cleaning water spray nozzles for independent front and back cleansing. What I love about this particular model is its adjustable heated seat with three presets and the ability to create two custom heating settings. Aging in place is also about adding comfort to the home and this bidet seat can make using the bathroom much easier, safer and comfortable for your parent.
The seat also includes adjustable water controls, with five levels (3 preset and 2 custom settings) of water pressure and temperature. All of these settings can be controlled with a remote. The seat has slow-close technology, and with one push of a button, it can be removed for easy bowl and seat cleaning.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: It’s important to have good personal hygiene, and a bidet can assist with that task as you continue to age. By including a remote, users can enjoy the many different settings of the bidet without having to contort their body to press buttons on the side of the toilet. And, it’s comfortable – a big aging-in-place plus.
TOTO gives users the best of both worlds with this toilet: a bidet and an auto-flush system. The WASHLET system neatly conceals the power cord and water supply hose, making for an easy and clean installation that will complement anyone’s bathroom décor. The toilet features a ceramic glaze that prevents debris and mold from sticking to the surface, making it easy to clean. It includes many automatic features, like an auto open and close lid and the previously mentioned auto-flush.
This toilet includes TOTO’s touchless technology, enabling the toilet to automatically flush when someone sits up and walks away from it. Users do not need to wave their hand over a sensor to activate.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: Sometimes it can be difficult for those choosing to age in place to have the necessary strength to pull down on a lever or push down on a button to flush the toilet. As a result, small toilet levers end up causing pain for arthritic hands. By incorporating an automatic flush sensor into the toilet, users can find comfort in knowing nothing will be left behind after their trip to the bathroom.
Carex, a leading manufacturer in products and equipment for seniors, has created raised toilet seats perfect for elongated toilets and standard toilets. The hinged toilet seat riser adds 3½-inches of height to a toilet, while supporting up to 300 pounds. The hinged seat is easy to clean, much like a standard toilet seat. The toilet seat installs safely and quickly between the toilet bowl and the existing toilet seat, making it an easy choice—especially when buying a new toilet isn’t an option.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: A toilet riser is a simple solution for older adults with bending or standing difficulties. It also provides extra support when sitting and standing whether it’s during recovery from surgery, rehabbing from an injury, or just generally having difficulty lowering oneself onto a standard toilet seat.
Vive’s Compact Toilet Rail can be easily installed to fit alongside most standard toilets. Tools, drilling, or cementing are not necessary as the rail can be installed using the toilet’s existing seat bolts. The rail handles are padded with soft rubber, creating a comfortable, non-slip surface when sitting down or standing up. The handle width can also be adjusted from 17 to 20 inches, giving users the right amount of space to comfortably sit. Even though the product is directly attached to the toilet, the safety rail does not interfere with regular toilet cleanings.
WHY IT’S GOOD FOR AGING IN PLACE: Supporting up to 300 pounds, the Compact Toilet Rail by Vive is a great addition when replacing a toilet is out of the question. It also provides stability and prevents slips and falls for those who are unsteady on their feet.
Select a Toilet Product for Your Bathroom That Will Improve Your Quality of Life and Keep You Safe as You Age in Place
As you plan your aging-in-place remodel, the toilet may not be the most glamorous upgrade, but it is one of the most important. Easily using the toilet, and the bathroom in general, is key to successfully aging in place and maintaining your quality of life. By adding the right toilet and toilet accessories, you’ll create a safer, more comfortable home for your parent or loved one.
Use this list of recommended aging-in-place toilet products as your go-to resource as you plan your renovation. And, use the comments section below to send me your questions as you continue to plan. I’m here to help you in any way I can.
Good luck with your next aging-in-place home project!