Let’s Talk Toilets!!

Seriously, let’s talk toilets. Face it, we all know that a poorly designed bathroom creates a scenario that could lead to a fall. Toilets, which every human being uses multiple times a day, are often squished into narrow and inaccessible spaces in a bathroom to make room for a shower and sink. Then forget how the door has to swing into that space as well!  

Unfortunately, one of the rooms that we use the most in our homes is often the smallest. Let’s tackle this potentially hazardous situation. There is much to consider.

Are all of the people in your home currently physically healthy? Are you in that aging population? Do you have people, parents or grandparents, visit your home who find the space challenging?

Toilet considerations:

  • What is the height of the toilet?
  • Is the toilet too close to a wall?
  • Are there grab bars nearby but not close enough for you? Or no grab bars at all?
  • Are you using a sink to assist with your sit to stand?
  • Do you feel like you are going to fall into the bathtub every time you get near the toilet?
  • Do you have adequate space to manage your clothing when you are using the toilet?
  • Are you having to twist to reach the toilet paper?
  • Men, would you benefit from a grab bar on the wall behind the toilet due to poor balance when urinating?
  • Do you find yourself pushing off the toilet seat or reaching for a door jam or counter to hoist yourself off the toilet?
  • Do you have visitors to your home who use a walker and have to leave the walker outside the bathroom and hold onto walls and counters in order to get to the toilet?
  • Is there space nearby to store/access items you may use in conjunction with toilet activities? Items such as toilet paper, pads, catheter supplies and more.
  • Can you safely walk to a toilet at night?
  • Do you dislike the add on raised toilet seats due to slipping, moving or too small of an opening?
  • Do you have added equipment in the bathroom creating a tripping hazard?
  • And the list goes on!

Occupational Therapists (OTs) who are Certified Aging in Place Specialists (CAPS) are THE profession to discuss toilets and toileting with. We are medical professionals and are not shy about discussing the tools to make this human “occupation” safe.  We look at bathroom design in a functional and comprehensive way in order to create an environment that works for you and your family. 

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