Summary & Highlights
- The best toilet seat height for the elderly is 17-19 inches off the floor.
- The easiest way to raise your current toilet seat height is to install a raised toilet seat that adds between 2 and 5 inches to the existing seat.
- A more labor-intensive option is installing a flange extender to raise the entire toilet a few inches off the floor.
- If you can’t adjust the height of your current toilet, purchase a taller “comfort height” toilet that is pre-made to the recommended size for older adults.
- Remember that the height stated on a toilet’s specifications is the height of the toilet bowl rim and does not include a seat which will add another inch to the total height.
Often, the first place an older adult notices a decrease in function is sitting down and standing up when using the toilet especially if they have a small toilet that sits low to the ground.
A raised toilet seat may be necessary to make standing from the toilet easier. These helpful devices are often my first recommendations to older adults who have difficulty sitting and standing while toileting. You can see my recommended raised toilet seats here.
Read on below to learn more about determining and achieving the optimal toilet height for aging loved ones.
Things You Need To Know About Toilet Height For Seniors
It is worth noting that the best toilet height for aging adults mainly depends on individual requirements.
Even with that in mind, I recommend a toilet height – from the floor to the top of the toilet seat – between 17 and 19 inches. This height is usually 2 to 4 inches taller than standard toilets.
This height, referred to as comfort or right height toilets, is ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant and considered excellent for seniors who may be experiencing pain or difficulty using a standard commode.
Install a New Tall Toilet
The height of a comfort toilet is closer to the height of a regular dining room chair.
Furthermore, such a toilet also helps eliminate various risks associated with accessing the toilet. If your elderly loved one has been experiencing back, foot, thigh, joint, knee, or hip pain, such a toilet might be perfect for them.
While these tall toilets may be considered safer and more comfortable for some seniors, they are not suitable for all.
If your elderly loved one typically uses the bathroom frequently or suffers from constipation, such a toilet may be detrimental to their physical well-being.
The main reason is that the bowels have an easier time emptying when the body is squatting, with the knees positioned slightly above the hips.
A taller toilet may also cause numbness in the legs, sore calves, and thighs, as well as a pins and needles sensation in the legs of shorter individuals; due to dangling legs.
Fortunately, there are ways of solving the issues surrounding “tall toilets.” For instance, you can use a toilet seat lift or a step stool.
Alternatively, you can avoid using a tall toilet by installing a railing next to the current toilet, which your elderly loved one can use for support. See our list of the best toilet safety rails in this guide for more information about this option.
Other Ways To Adjust Toilet Seat Height for the Elderly
If installing a new toilet isn’t an option for you, I recommend the following solutions to raise the height of your existing toilet.
Raise the Toilet Height from the Bottom With a Toilet Riser
A toilet riser is a simple gadget designed to increase a toilet’s height without breaking the bank. This gadget is designed to be installed at the base of the existing toilet, thus, raising it by several inches.
In addition to being affordable, a toilet seat riser has a few more benefits, including being easy to install and enhanced stability.
Toilevator Toilet Riser
Raise the Toilet Height from the Top With a Toilet Seat Riser
An easier option is installing a toilet seat riser or a raised toilet seat.
Designed to be compatible with most toilets, including round and elongated variants, a toilet seat riser increases the height of your toilet by up to five inches.
In addition to being affordable and easy to install and remove, some toilet seat risers also come with padded handrails that users can hold on to for added support.
Infographic: Common Toilet Bowl Height Terminology
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Choosing the right toilet height is essential for seniors’ independent, safe, and comfortable use of toilets. If your toilet seat is too low, many options exist to raise it higher.
When choosing the best toilet height for your elderly loved one, consider their individual needs, as there is no one size fits all option.