Personal circumstances can change due to any number of reasons and aging or illness are regrettably amongst the most prominent causes. Taking steps to increase safety are important, especially surrounding the most vulnerable and embarrassing situations that none of us would appreciate being witnessed in. Protecting the dignity and independence of the elderly or impaired are just as important as aiding them with tasks that they have trouble with, such as using the toilet.
Such a personal moment is meant to be private and yet the danger of falling for people with shaky balance or reduced mobility is immense. Bathrooms are hazardous since they are typically cramped spaces and the floor is usually hard, cold, and can also be slippery, which increases the risk of falling and getting seriously injured. However, solutions for protecting independence while providing appropriate safety precautions when using the toilet do exist, and installing a toilet rail is one of the safest options.
Types of Toilet Safety Rails and Aids
A variety of specialized equipment is available for disabled and elderly people and depending on the level of assistance that a person requires, there are a fair number of options to choose from. Some people need no more than a grab bar mounted on the wall beside the toilet, which helps the user to keep balance by providing something stable to hold on to. Handrails are generally not meant for supporting the whole weight of the body, although if installed correctly they can do in a pinch. The person using these needs sufficient strength to hold themselves up, however, otherwise the protection the bars provide is superficial at best.
An elderly person using a walker may not need any further equipment, although not every walker is suitable for use on the toilet because of their width or connecting bars getting in the way. However, if a walker is already necessary, then you might want to consider buying a version that fits around the toilet. On the other hand, it is good to keep in mind that walkers are not as stable as toilet safety frames; most walkers have wheels, which would increase the risk of the aid sliding away under the slightest forward pressure. Equipment is available that is intended specifically for bathroom use, which would be a good idea to invest in.
There are toilet frames that can be bolted either to the toilet itself or to the floor. Toilet safety rails secured to the floors have the obvious drawback of leaving unsightly holes in the floor if they are removed. Toilet grab bars fastened to the toilet can usually be assembled tool-free and they come in many versions affected by the capacity in which they will be used in.
Recommended Toilet Rails for Elderly
Medline Toilet Safety Rails
Drive Medical Stand Alone Toilet Safety Rail
Toilet Safety Frame by Vive
Carex Toilet Safety Rails
Tips for Toilet Assistance for Seniors
Most importantly, do not settle for a single solution. While a toilet safety rail certainly provides security, they can usually not be moved and the danger of a fall does not end with standing up. Getting around the rest of the bathroom could prove to be just as hazardous, so installing as many grab bars as possible would not go amiss. Hanging onto a towel bar will not suffice as those are not designed to hold the weight of a person and could easily be ripped off the wall. Grab bars that are installed by professionals will provide the strongest stability, and if possible buy bars that have a non-slippery surface for extra security.
Having an unobstructed, well-lit path to and into the bathroom is important. It is easy to trip over the most ordinary items found in a hallway, like shoes or a small table. Pack everything away, especially for nighttime when walking around in a groggy state will increase the risk of an accident. Also, make sure to have a nightlight.
Adding non-slip surfaces to the floor is crucial. Just covering the tiles with a carpet will not do as without a rubbered back to make sure the material doesn’t slide around, an ordinary carpet could in fact increase the risk instead of negating it. Tempting as it might be to use an old rug to save money, investing in safety is always a good idea.
Keep everything within easy reach. Make sure the toilet paper, towels, and soap are close to hand to prevent falls from overreaching. Nor should the toilet paper be placed on the ground, especially with a safety frame that might make leaning to the side difficult.
Finally, try to stay active, and move as much as possible. If the only exercise your body gets are trips to and from the bathroom, then you will find your strength and stamina quickly depleting. A small, daily stroll around the garden or down the street can do wonders for maintaining good levels of fitness.
Increase Safety With a Medical Alarm System
Despite all these safety measures, there is still always the possibility of an accident occurring. Getting dizzy and missing the grab bar could become an issue, not to mention the chance of fainting. Any railing is only as useful as the situation allows, so it is good to have extra security for unexpected cases.
A medical alarm system could help reduce much of the danger. Most providers offer special help buttons that can be mounted on the shower wall or anywhere else that it might come in handy. Wearable alert buttons are even more useful, and there are pendants available that automatically detect falls as well. With these, even if the wearer loses consciousness or is unable to move, the help center will be immediately alerted to ensure paramedics are dispatched quickly before it may become too late. All in all, medical alert systems are an incredibly helpful safety net to invest in for added protection both inside and outside the bathroom.
The Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019
|Editor's Choice 2019|