What Is The Best Toilet Seat Height for the Elderly?

Certified Senior Advisor®
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Best Toilet Seat Height for the Elderly

The best toilet height for the elderly seems to be 17 to 19 inches for most people. If additional height is needed, there are other options and accessories too.

Best Toilet Seat Height for the Elderly
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The act of squatting down and rising up becomes more challenging with advanced age. This problem is mainly caused by weakened muscles.

To make things easier in the bathroom for the elderly, a raised toilet seat may be necessary. In fact, they are often one of my first recommendations to older adults who have difficulty sitting and standing while toileting. You can see my recommended raised toilet seats here.

With that in mind, it is important to choose the best toilet height for seniors in order to enhance independence and minimize discomfort as well as any risk of injury or unnecessary muscle strain.

Read on below to find out more about the best toilet height for aging adults.

Things You Need To Know About Toilet Height For Seniors

It is worth noting that the best toilet height for aging adults is mainly dependent on individual requirements.

Even with that in mind, it is generally believed that the best toilet height – from the floor to the toilet seat – is somewhere between 17 and 19 inches.

This height is considered to be great for seniors who may be experiencing back or joint pain.

Also referred to as comfort or right height toilets, ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant comfort toilets are 17 to 19 inches high – from the floor to the top of the toilet seat.

This makes for easier transitions to and from wheelchairs. To put things into perspective, such toilets are normally about 2 to 4 inches taller than regular toilets.

best toilet seat height for the elderly comfort
Comfort height toilets reduce bathroom risks among seniors.

Installing Taller Toilets

The height of a comfort toilet is closer to the height of a regular dining room chair. As such, seniors are able to squat down and rise up from the toilet, on their own, without straining their weakened muscles.

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 to be safer and more comfortable for some seniors, they are not suitable for all.

If your elderly loved one normally uses the bathroom frequently or suffers from constipation, such a toilet may actually be detrimental to their physical well-being.

The main reason for this is that the bowels have an easier time emptying when the body is in a squatting position, with the knees positioned slightly above the hips.

A “tall 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 the use of “tall toilets.” For instance, you can use a toilet seat lift or a step stool.

Alternatively, you can avoid the use of a “tall toilet” by installing a railing next to the current toilet, which your elderly loved one can use for support.

best toilet seat height for the elderly other ways
Here are some alternative solutions for adjusting the height of your existing toilet for your elderly loved ones.

Other Ways To Adjust Toilet Height

If you do not wish to install a new comfort toilet, or cannot afford one, you can use the following solutions to adjust the height of your existing toilet and meet the needs of your elderly loved one.

Toilet Riser

A toilet riser is a simple gadget that is designed to increase the height of a toilet 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 also comes with a few more benefits, including being easy to install and enhanced stability.

Toilet Seat Riser

Another great option for increasing the height of your toilet to accommodate the needs of your elderly loved one comes in the form of 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.

RELATED: How to Measure for a Raised Toilet Seat

Conclusion

Choosing the right toilet height is important when it comes to independent, safe, and comfortable use of toilets by seniors. If your toilet seat is too low, there are lots of options to raise it higher.

When choosing the best toilet height for your elderly loved one, be sure to consider their individual needs, as there is no one size fits all option.

Sources:

  1. https://www.elderguru.com/selecting-the-proper-toilet-height-for-seniors/
  2. https://www.mycaringplan.com/blog/the-complete-guide-to-tall-toilets-for-seniors-in-2022/
  3. https://theinformedsenior.com/best-toilet-height-for-seniors/
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Scott Grant, CSA®, ATP

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Assistive Technology Professional
Certified Rehab Technology Supplier (CRTS®)

I have been serving seniors and the elderly for over 20 years as a medical equipment and custom wheelchair specialist for a regional medical equipment company. I am also a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not helping older adult improve the quality of their lives, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's. Learn More

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