Toilet risers do not have to be complex items; in fact, they are some of the more easy pieces of adaptive equipment to install in one’s home. However, there are some considerations for installment that people forget to acknowledge, especially if they sporadically order a riser online that doesn’t even fit on their toilet. The following items are tips regarding appropriate installation of a toilet riser:
- Acknowledging all measurements of the toilet riser: If you are ordering the riser online, tips for measurements may already be included in the product information. Consider the height of the riser and whether or not it is adjustable. Look up the measurements for the width and the depth of the riser. A deeper riser may assist someone in limiting falls or loss of balance. On the other hand, a deeper riser could also make it more difficult for them to stand up and may not fit the toilet bowl accurately. Measure framework if there is any including grab bar height and width, leg width, and back height. Take note on whether or not the legs or grab bars are height adjustable.
- Measuring all aspects of the toilet: The toilet bowl size is the primary concern if the toilet-riser is a lock-on design. First, figure out whether or not the bowl is considered a standard size or an elongated size. Measure the width and length of the inner bowl and outer rim of the bowl. Measure the thickness of the toilet seat (since that might be relevant to the lock-on design). Most importantly MEASURE THE HEIGHT OF THE TOILET. Start at the floor and measure the height to the very top of the open bowl. This will contribute to the height of the riser and whether or not the combined heights will be too low or too high for the individual using the riser.
- Measuring the surrounding spaces of the toilet: Some toilet risers are not designed to lock on to the toilet bowl directly. Some individuals and their caregivers may decide to go with a riser with height-adjustable legs which will take up space around the toilet. Research numerous products to see how far out the legs protrude from the toilet seat and whether or not the surrounding area around the toilet will support the required space.
- Assessing a need for grab bars: Any surgeries, medical conditions, or injuries to the lower limbs will overall compromise the individual’s strength to perform sit-to-stand transfers from a toilet seat. Furthermore, it will make it infinitely harder if the individual previously had decreased strength and difficulty in transferring from the toilet to begin with. Grab bars offer an external support for the person to push off of in the event that the rise itself doesn’t help enough. There are many toilet risers out there that already come with pre-installed grab bars for ease of transfer. Additionally, grab bars provide some support to the upper body if the individual has a difficult time staying in a stable, unsupported seated position for a given period of time.
- Measuring the user: Take note of all of the relevant measurements of the user: height, width, and weight. The height includes full-body height as well as the length between their hips and feet. Measure the person on the toilet without the riser and observe whether or not their feet lie flat on the floor or slightly elevated from the floor. Measure the person’s combined thigh width in sitting. This is especially important when measuring for a toilet riser with grab bars. If the individual’s hips are too wide for that type of toilet riser, they risk not fitting well on the seat, getting stuck on the seat, or obtaining skin abrasions on their outer thighs from the grab bars.
Lastly, measure the person’s full body weight since each type of toilet riser has limited weight capacities. Many available toilet risers tolerate up to a 300-lb weight capacity. Consult with your doctor about whether or not you may be considered for the “Obese” category for your weight. If this is the case, caregivers and toilet riser users need to shift gears and focus on toilet risers that accommodate for obese weight capacities.
- Portability: This may be an important element to very few people who wish to enhance their community access. Most toilet risers that are ADA-compliant are designed to fit the majority of toilet seats, specifically public toilets that are most likely ADA-compliant as well. The most portable toilet seats are light-weight and do not come with extra framework or grab bars. The toilet riser would be just the standard seat that is easy to clean and can be tucked away in a tote bag for travel purposes.
Online purchases are popular, easy, and often result in cheaper prices. However, online purchases can complicate things if accurate measurements are not taken prior to pushing the “place order” button. Check all measurements provided in the product information, including what measurement system is being used to describe the product. For example, many adaptive equipment products are basing their measurements off of the old Imperial measurement system which is still used in the United States. If you are ordering from a country that uses the metric system, remember to convert all measurements.
For individuals who are new at accessibility features and adaptive equipment, it never hurts to consult with a specialist. If you are purchasing a toilet riser for post-surgical reasons, consult with your doctor regarding what types of toilet risers you are interested in and whether or not they approve of it for appropriate surgery recovery. Users can also consult with medical equipment providers as well as physical and occupational therapists. All of them frequently specialize in adaptive equipment and can provide tips or in-home evaluations to provide accurate measurements.