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How to Get up from the Toilet?

As we get older many of us are less able to move around unaided. There’s nothing wrong with this, it’s a common problem with getting old, and may just be a consequence of losing muscle mass. This, we can often help with regular exercise.

Unfortunately, if you have problems sitting and standing at the toilet, you need help now, not sometime in the future. So, let’s look at a few ways to help with this basic necessity.

Techniques to Help when sitting or standing from the Toilet

Believe it or not, you can learn the correct way to stand up and sit down at the toilet seat. This will make life so much easier when you answer a call of nature.

Likewise, you can also make use of many aids designed to help use this essential household fixture.

Standing

If you already have a frame or grab rails around your toilet, use them. If you haven’t got any, it’s worthwhile thinking about having some fitted.

RELATED: Best grab bars for seniors

Let’s assume you already have armrests you can use.

  • Place your hands firmly onto the frame or grab rails.
  • Lean forwards so you move toward the front edge of the toilet seat. You will probably have to shuffle on your buttocks, transferring your weight from one to the other and slightly lifting your body using your arms.
  • Place your feet about shoulder-width apart and make sure they’re in line under your knees. Not tucked underneath or pushed out in front.
  • Move your head and shoulders in-line above your knees.
  • Push down on the armrests while straightening your legs. If you haven’t got armrests or grab bars, you can place your hands onto your knees and push down on those. It’s not as good as using a frame but it will help.
  • Stand up.

Remember: Don’t hold onto a walking frame while you stand. It isn’t fixed and might topple over. Only use something that is firmly fixed to the wall or floor.

Sitting

But how do you sit down on the toilet in the first place? Maybe these tips will help you overcome that problem.

  • Stand so you can feel the front of the toilet seat against the back of your legs.
  • If you have grab rails,  hold onto them firmly.
  • Stand with your feet about a shoulder distance apart and distribute your weight evenly between them.
  • Bend slightly at your hips and knees and reach back for the frame if you have one.
  • Carry on feeling the toilet seat against your legs, slowly sit down taking your weight through your arms.
  • If you don’t have a frame or grab rail, hold onto your knees and push against those as you sit.
  • Move your bottom about until you are in the correct position and are comfortable.

Use toilet aids:

If you need a toilet aid to help you sit or stand, it’s best if you speak to your doctor who can refer you to an appropriate health care specialist for an assessment. As everyone’s needs are different, you should have a one-to-one discussion to find out what your needs are, and what aid is best for you.

Let’s have a little look at some of those that are available.

Toilet Frames and Surrounds

There are many of these on the market. All with a slight gimmick to help you decide to buy theirs. Although a frame placed around the toilet and fixed to the floor is probably the simplest, it may not be the best. The big problem with a frame is that it is fixed and you can’t move it out of the way to clean or if you need access with a wheelchair.

The best one to overcome these problems is a wall-mounted, drop down rail. They provide support when you need it and can be folded out of the way if you have able-bodied people sharing your home, need to clean around the toilet bowl or require access if you have a wheelchair.

Remember that if you choose a drop-down rail, it must be fitted to a wall with fixings appropriate for the wall. Many modern homes use plasterboard drywall as an internal wall covering.

Usually, these will not be strong enough to support the rail and your bodyweight unless the rail also has legs and feet that rest on the floor and can transfer your body weight to the floor. If you are in any doubt as to the best way to install these, consult a suitably qualified professional.

You will also find that the ideal type of and location for grab bars, rails and frames will depend on your size, stature, your specific mobility problem, whether you need a carer,  as well as the bathroom’s layout. Once again, this information can only be assessed by a suitably qualified occupational or physical therapist.

Elevated Toilet Seat

Many seniors with mobility problems find they can’t bend down to sit on a standard height toilet seat. Either their hips don’t work properly or their knees are at fault. A common way to fix this problem is by using a replacement toilet seat, one that’s thicker than standard. Although, there are many different variations on the theme.

Raise the toilet seat’s height. You can attach a raised toilet seat to the existing ceramic bowl while keeping the existing seat in the ‘up’ position. Or, remove the existing seat and replace it with a raised one using the same bolt holes. These methods can be temporary or permanent.

RELATED: How to make toilet seat higher?

Comfort Height Toilet

Raise the height of the toilet bowl. You can either position the standard ceramic toilet onto a shallow plinth, just high enough to give you the advantage. Otherwise, you can buy specially made non-standard toilet units that are taller than standard. In both cases, raising the height requires plumbing to be adjusted to suit different water and drainage systems. For this reason, it’s best to reserve these methods for a permanent application only.

Commode

A commode is a mobile chair on lockable wheels which has a detachable toilet bowl fitted in the seat. These are useful if you are bedridden and cannot walk very far or very quickly.

Many seniors have problems with needing the toilet in the middle of the night and might awaken with barely enough time to make it to the bathroom.

This is why a commode is so valuable. It can stay in your bedroom, and for much of the day, it can be used as a normal chair. When you need to use the toilet, just fold the seat upwards, revealing the bowl.

What’s next?

Whichever method you use to raise the toilet seat, remember that other people who live in your home, may wish to use the toilet as well and yours may not suit them. If you have more than one toilet at home, reserve one for you and one for everyone else. If not, then be prepared for some people, especially little children, to find your seat too high. 

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