A toilet frame is literally a frame that wraps around a toilet. In many ways, it operates just like a walker and stand assist, as it’s a sturdy frame with four legs and two handles and it’s designed to support a person’s weight.
If a toilet has one of these frames fitted, it’s easier for someone with mobility problems to sit down and stand up. Of course, some upper body strength is required, but the additional support provided can also help a caregiver when assisting with basic toileting needs.
Benefits of Toilet Frames
It’s important for seniors to maintain their independence for as long as possible. Research has shown that the longer they have control of their own hygiene rituals, the happier they will be.
Toilet frames can help a person maintain some of that control while also keeping their dignity. If they are more comfortable going to the toilet and don’t struggle to sit or stand, they will be more inclined to do it.
Many seniors with mobility issues willingly restrict their water consumption to avoid urinating too much, and others try to hold it in, potentially leading to incontinence episodes. If they don’t have to worry about using the toilet, they won’t do these things and will be healthier and happier as a result.
In addition, a toilet frame may help to reduce the risk of injury.
What to Consider When Buying a Toilet Frame
Before you choose a toilet frame, make sure you check all of the following points:
- Strength: The frame needs to be strong and sturdy. It should have legs that always remain rooted to the floor and do not wobble uncontrollably, and it should also be built to support the weight of its user. Check the weight capacity listed by the manufacturer and make sure you don’t exceed it.
- Is it Portable? While a permanent frame is often the better and safer option, it might be out of the question if you live in rented or otherwise short-term residence. Check with your landlord to discuss your options or look for a portable frame.
- Handles: How do the handles feel, what are they made of, and can you grip them? If you have problems with your grip and with supporting your weight, a toilet frame could be out of the question entirely. The durability of the handles is also important as they may wear out quickly.
The Best Toilet Frames for Elderly Users
Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to look at some of the best toilet frames that you can buy right now. All of these are produced by respected mobility brands and can be purchased from dealers online and offline, including major retail sites like Amazon. Check the reviews, warranties, and returns information before you buy and if you want more information on specific brands, take a look at our brand reviews/profiles.
Vive Toilet Rail
Vive is one of the biggest names in the mobility sector and in addition to its quality mobility scooters and other products, it sells an affordable and sturdy frame for your toilet. It is easy to install, will fit most toilets, and can be customized. The handles are soft and cushioned and it can support up to 300 lbs. in weight.
The Vive rail is available for around $40, but there are a few different options, including portable and standalone versions. It’s easy to install and is sturdy.
Drive Medical Toilet Safety Rail
Another big name in this sector, Drive Medical’s toilet frame can also support 300 lbs. and is easy to install. It’s generally a little cheaper than the Vive rail and can be purchased for around $20 to $30 from Drive Medical dealers. You’ll also benefit from Drive Medical’s high-quality manufacturing and its warranties.
The Medline Guardian Safety Rail
Price wise, this Medline option sits in the middle of the two options outlined above and is also a high-quality, well-made frame backed by a massively respected brand. It’s strong and supportive, although the weight capacity is 50 lbs. less than the Vive and Drive Medical frames.
Homecraft Foldaway Toilet Frame
Although this is a little more expensive than the other ones on this list, it also provides more support and is perhaps better suited to large individuals. It features very strong grab bars and can be adjusted to suit your height and preferences. It has very good reviews and its durable construction ensures it will serve you for years to come.
Other Toilet Additions to Consider
The bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house and that’s especially true for seniors. 1 in 3 will experience a slip or fall during any given year and for 80% of those individuals, that accident will occur in the bathroom.
It’s imperative, therefore, that you protect the space as much as possible and make it easier for yourself or your loved one to meet their daily toileting and hygiene requirements.
Toilet frames can help with this, and they go a long way toward making a senior’s life easier. Regardless, you can also consider mobility products such as:
- Grab Bars: Simple bars that you place around the bathroom, helping someone with mobility issues to transition from the toilet to the shower or from the door to the toilet.
- Toilet Seat Raises: As the name suggests, these products raise the toilet seat height. It’s a simple solution, but it works incredibly well. The higher the seat is, the easier it will be to get on and off.
- Wiping Aids: If they are using the toilet themselves but struggling with the process, a wiping aid can help. It works like a reacher/grabber, with toilet paper stuffed into one end and a lever on the other that releases it when needed.
Commode: A commode may be easier to use than a toilet and should be considered for individuals with very limited mobility when it becomes a chore to use the toilet.