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What Does Raised Toilet Seat Mean ?

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It was prior to my mom having a hip replacement that my investigation into raised toilet seats went into full swing. The raised toilet seat is one of those pieces of equipment that most caregivers will become very familiar with, if they are looking after an elderly person.

What does “raised toilet seat” mean ? A raised toilet seat is a device which raises the height of a toilet seat in order to assist people with mobility issues in sitting down on, or getting up from, the toilet.

As our parents become more fragile with age, there are certain devices which appear in our lives, and the raised toilet seat is one of the most common of these. And it comes in quite a wide variety of forms.

 

What are the different types of raised toilet seats, and how do you install them ?

 

What most people consider to be a raised toilet seat is a large white tire-like piece of plastic which is somehow attached to the bowl of the toilet, but there are also raised toilet seats on legs and on frames.

 

You can divide the raised toilet seats into six basic types –

 

  • temporary seats which have no fixings
  • seats which have some method for locking to the toilet bowl – side locking or front locking – which are somewhat more secure
  • seats which bolt onto the toilet using the seat bolt holes – very secure and for long term use
  • raised toilet seats which slot onto the toilet but also have supporting legs – again very secure and for long term use
  • safety frames with elevated seats which are placed over the toilet – ideal for the elderly and others who need more support
  • bedside commodes which can be placed over the toilet like a safety frame and elevated seat, and which are also ideal for the elderly and disabled users

Raised toilet seats for more temporary use

 

The seats can come in a variety of heights – 2 inch, 3 inch, 3 1/2 inch, 4 inch, 5 inch and 6 inch models depending on the design type and brands.

The systems for attaching these elevated or raised seats to the toilets vary somewhat.

 

Bubble seats

 

Simply slot onto the toilet, and you have to push them down hard. They are made of compressed foam which grips the toilet bowl.

These seats can range in height from 2 to 6 inches, depending on the model.

There are no clamps, bolts or locks, which I don’t particularly feel confident about.

 

An example of this type of seat is –

 

  • The NRS Comfort raised toilet seat

 

These seats are also not height adjustable, have no armrests, don’t lock to the toilet bowl and have a lower weight capacity than seats which are fixed to the seat.

Bubble seat raised toilet seat

Bubble seat raised toilet seat - underside

Clip-on seat/risers

 

The seats are a “c” shaped piece of plastic which you clip onto your existing toilet seat.

You will need to be very careful with checking the weight limit on these seats to avoid accidents, as there is no form of fixing, such as bolts or clamps, to hold them in place.

There are no armrests, or handles, for extra support either.

 

Some examples of this are –

 

  • Ability Supertstore 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat
  • Performance Health 4 inch Clip On Raised Toilet Seat

 

Because these seats come with no arm rests or handles, it is important to make sure that the user doesn’t have their feet off the floor when seated i.e. the seat is not too elevated, as this can cause them to lose their balance, when getting up off the seat, and with nothing to hold onto this can lead to accidents.

Clip-on raised toilet seat - topside

Clip-on raised toilet seat - underside

Raised toilet seats which lock onto the toilet bowl

 

Seats with side fixings and a front “bracket” –

 

Side locking raised toilet seat with lid

Side locking raised toilet seat without lid

Side locking toilet seat installed on a toilet

 

  • has two plastic bolts or clamps, one on each side of the seat, towards the rear for securing the seat
  • a lip at the front, called a “front bracket” by some brands
  • are not height adjustable, and come in heights of 2, 3, 4, 41/2, 5 and 6 inches
  • can be bought with, or without, lids
  • don’t come with armrests or handles
  • some are for all toilets sizes
  • some are for elongated toilets
  • some are for standard toilets
  • all have their own different weight capacities 

 

I bought a seat of this type for my mom before her hip replacement surgery at 88 yrs old, but when we tried it, we found that it still moved all over the place.

It was when I tried this type of seat, that I became aware of how difficult an elderly person might find it to use a seat without handles or armrests.

 

Examples of raised seats using this system are –

 

AquaSense 4″ raised toilet seat w/ lid, Prod. No – 770 -626

Vaunn Medical 4.5″ Clamp-On raised toilet seat, (standard), Prod. No. M701 – A3

Carex 4.25″ Safe-Lock raised toilet seat, Prod. No. B31300 0000

PCP 4″ raised standard toilet seat, Prod. No. 7024

Drive Medical 6″ raised toilet seat w/out lid, Prod. No. 12066

 

Clipper seats

Clipper raised toilet seat

Clipper raised toilet seat with armrests

Clipper raised toilet seat - underside

There is actually only one brand that makes these seats, but they are markedly different from the other types.

 

The clipper seat –

 

    • installs very quickly once the toilet seat is in the upright position
    • the raised toilet seat sits on top of the toilet bowl rim
    • has an inside edge which drops several inches into the bowl
    • has four plastic clips which grip the outside of the toilet bowl when pushed in, exerting equal pressure from four points around outside the toilet bowl
    • on the models I, II, III they do not have armrests
    • the models IV and V come with armrest
    • VI and VII come with armrests and legs

 

Clipper seat on a toilet

The examples of these seats are –

 

Herdegen Clipper I 4.3 inch raised toilet seat, Prod. No. 500400

Herdegen Clipper II 4.3 inch raised toilet seat, Prod. No. 500410

Herdegen Clipper III 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ lid, Prod. No. 500411

Herdegen Clipper IV 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ swing-up armrests, Prod. No. 500420

Herdegen Clipper V 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ swing-up armrests and a lid, Prod. No. 500421

Herdegen Clipper VI 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/ adjustable frame and armrests, Prod. No. 500430

Herdegen Clipper VII 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/lid and adjustable frame and armrests, Prod. No. 500431

 

Front locking raised toilet seats

Front locking raised toilet seat

Front locking raised toilet seat clamping mechanism underside

Front locking raised toilet seat on a toilet

Systems which lock at the front of the toilet seat – these have a clamp located at the front of the seat with a knob for tightening, and the inner sides go down into the bowl of the toilet for stability.

At the back of the seat there is a small lip which sticks out and slots under the rim of the bowl of your toilet, and once it is in place you push down the front of the seat and secure the front locking mechanism.

The heights of the seats will vary depending on the brand, from 4 to 5 inches.

Most of these seats have armrests, some are adjustable and others are also removable.

The seats are compatible with all toilet shapes, as they clamp to the front edge only.

Don’t forget to check the weight capacity.

 

Some examples of this type –

 

  • Carex E-Z Lock 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
  • Medokare 4.5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Arms
  • Vive 5 inch Raised Toilet Seat with Padded Handles

 

The fact that these seats have armrests means that you have something to grab a hold of as you sit back, which is good.

I still think, though, that you need a grab bar on the wall for some extra support if you have any issues with balance, or strength.

I am also not sure just how strong the clamps are.

 

Raised toilet seats with legs

Raised toilet seat with legs

This is a raised toilet seat which is wider than the toilet bowl, and has 4 legs.

The seat is resting on both the toilet bowl and on the legs.

The design stops any wobbliness, gives a wider distance between the armrests for a larger person, and makes the seat more sturdy in general.

 

The main points –

 

  • the legs have to be adjusted to the height of the toilet bowl
  • the seat itself adds about 4 1/2 inches in height to the toilet on most models
  • depending on the brand the raised seats may attach differently to the bowl, but with four legs there is no real risk of it coming off
  • these raised seats can take greater weight than those without legs and are more stable

 

Definitely more solid than the seats without legs, and armrests are a lot easier for an elderly person to use, and as I have seen with my own mom, when a seat has legs it gives the person more confidence when using it, as there is no problem with the seat moving around.

 

Some examples of raised toilet seats with legs –

 

Maddak Extra wide Tall-Ette elevated toilet seat w/ aluminum legs, Prod. No. T725881000

Maddak Extra wide Tall-Ette elevated toilet seat with steel legs, Prod. No. T725882000

Mobb 4.5 inchRaised Toilet Seat With Legs Prod. No. MHRTSL

Herdegen Clipper VII 4.3 inch raised toilet seat w/lid and adjustable frame and armrests, Prod. No. 500431

 

Raised toilet seats which bolt to the toilet

 

Risers

Hinged riser

Alignment of a riser toilet seat, lid and toilet

A riser is a ring shaped block of plastic which is available in a range of heights from 2 to 4 inches.

To install the riser, you remove your existing toilet seat and place the riser where your seat was, taking care to line up the bolt holes on the riser with the toilet seat bolt holes of your toilet.

The toilet seat and lid that you removed are then placed back on top of the riser, and the new bolts, which came with your riser, are placed down through all the parts, and secured on the underside of the toilet.

Do not tighten the bolts too hard, as the toilet is ceramic, and you can crack, or break it.

Some risers come with a built-in hinge just like a seat does, which means that you can lift the front edge to clean underneath.

Risers can be bought with, or without armrests, depending on the model.

 

Some examples of these risers are –

 

  • Nova 3 1/2 inch toilet seat riser
  • Maddak 4 inch hinged seat riser

 

Because they are bolted to your toilet, risers are very solid, and with armrests  and a grab bar on the wall by the toilet they are a good option for all but the most elderly and frail among us.

Riser with armrests

Riser installed on a toilet under the seat and lid

Tall Seats or Seats with Spacers

Spacer raised toilet seat with lid

Spacer raised toilet seat without lid

Spacer raised toilet seat installed on a toilet

These are seats which have small legs, or spacers, on the under side of the seat, and that come in 2 inch, or 3 inch, high models.

You can get them with, or without lids, and they can be open or closed at the front of the seat.

Tall Seats do not have armrests and the height is no adjustable.

To install these, you take off the existing seat and lid from your toilet, and replace with the Tall seat.

 

An example of one of these seats is –

 

  • Centoco 3L440STS-001 raised toilet seat with lid

 

I think these would be fine for a younger, and stronger adult, but because there are no armrests it is again a case of needing grab bars, or a toilet safety frame, and so more expenses, to make it suitable for more elderly parents with mobility and balance issues.

Safety frames with seats

Toilet safety frame with elevated seat

Toilet safety frame with elevated seat placed over a toilet

A safety frame with an elevated toilet seat is a metal frame – aluminum or steel – with a toilet seat fixed to it. These are not to be confused with toilet safety frames, which don’t have their own raised seat.

To install them, you lift the toilet seat and lid of your toilet, and then place the frame and raised seat over your toilet.

 

The frames have –

 

  • adjustable height
  • large, practical armrests
  • the weight capacity is higher than on plastic clamp-on seats
  • legs on all sides
  • bariatric models for heavier people

 

The frames all have armrests and there are plenty of places a person can grab onto if they start to lose their balance or slip off.

 

Some examples of frames with elevated seats are –

 

Maddak Tall-Ette elevated toilet seat with legs 

PCP raised toilet seat and safety frame 2-in-1

MOBB elevated toilet seat and frame

Aidapt President raised toilet seat and frame 

Lattice commode toilet seat and frame 

 

There are also mechanized frames with raised seats, which actually take some of the person’s weight to assist them in sitting down, or getting up.

 

Some examples of toilet lift –

 

The Uplift Commode

Easy Access Tilt Toilet lift (this model is slightly different as it is secured to the toilet without legs)

The Liftseat Powered Toilet Lift

The Drive Solo Lift with Arms

 

If you have an elderly parent who is in great pain and very frail, or lacking in strength, the lifts are a very good option. The first two are the more affordable models of lift.

 

Portable bedside commodes

3 in 1 bedside commode

3 in 1 bedside commode over a toilet

Now to my mother’s favorite, the portable bedside commode.

Also known as a 3-in-1 commode, it’s a metal chair frame with toilet seat and a potty.

 

The commode be placed by the bed and used –

 

(a) as a commode

(b) over the toilet as a frame to hold onto when you sit down, or get up (without the seat and bucket), or

(c) you can use it with its seat over the toilet as a raised toilet seat

You can adjust the height and width, and you can also get bariatric frames which can support far greater weights.

 

Some examples of this type of commode are –

 

Drive Medical heavy-duty bariatric commode

Drive Medical steel folding bedside commode 

UltraCommode bedside commode

 

This is, in my opinion, a very good option for an elderly person who needs a bit of assistance with their balance and who has mobility and, or, pain issues. There is lots of support and nothing else is required.

To find out about all the types of bedside commodes that you can use over a toilet, you can see them in my article about the different types of raised toilet seats here.

 

Raised toilet seats at Walmart

 

Walmart has a range of several hundred raised toilet seats – risers, hinged risers, risers with armrests, bubble seats, seats with spacers, side locking seats, front locking seats with and without armrests, extra wide front locking seats with armrests, extra wide front locking seats with legs and safety frames with raised toilet seats.

Walmart carries seats by AquaSense, Bemis, Carex, DMI, Drive Medical, Easy Comforts, Equate, Essential Medical, Graham Field, Healthsmart, Lumex, Maddak, McKesson, Medline, Mobb, Nova, PCP, Probasics, and Vaunn Medical.

If you want to know more about the larger retailers of raised toilet seats you can read about it in my post “Where To Buy A Raised Toilet Seat ?”.

 

Raised toilet seats at Amazon

 

Just like Walmart, Amazon sell raised toilet seats of types, and from all the most popular brands.

The only problem that I find with Amazon is that the sellers try to stuff their product titles with lots of keywords, and as a result the searches bring up lots of irrelevant items, making it a less than smooth user experience.

The prices are very much the same as at Walmart.

What’s the best raised toilet seat for the elderly ?

 

If you are getting a raised seat for an elderly parent, or loved one, after a knee or hip replacement

 

If your parent has had a hip or knee replacement, you will doubtless know how nervous you can be when you first see them with a nurse being taken off to the toilet, and you start to wonder how you are going to deal with this when you get them home.

So here is the first step

It is important that your elderly parent, and their caregiver, learn how to sit down, and to stand back up, after the surgery.

If your loved one can do this properly, the risk of strains and accidents is greatly reduced.

I found it very helpful, for myself, to learn this, as my mom, who is over 90, kept forgetting the exact process at first, and I was able to quickly remind her about how to do it correctly.

I am not a doctor, obviously, so I am not going to give you advice on how to do the sitting and standing, and I also don’t wish to make a mistake and cause anyone harm.

Furthermore, I can tell you, though, that we were advised to use a frame with armrests with a raised toilet seat.

So, this can be a safety frame with a raised toilet seat, or a portable bedside commode as my mom uses.

 

What kind of raised seat should I get for my parent who has mobility or pain issues ?

 

This greatly depends on the age of the person in question, their balance and strength.

If your parent is not too elderly, and they still have a good amount of strength in the arms and legs, then a bolted on riser with armrests, and your own toilet seat on top, is probably the most solid of the seats which attach onto the toilet.

This can then be combined with some grab bars, or toilet safety frame, for extra support.

 

Example of a good riser with armrests are –

 

Carex 3 1/2 inch Riser with Arms

Essential Medical Supply Toilet Seat Riser with Removable Arms

Drive Medical 3 1/2 inch premium Seat Riser with Removable Arms

Maddak 3 1/2 inch Elevated Seat Riser with Safety Arms

 

One other point to consider is, how good is their eyesight – mainly their peripheral vision – as they will have to reach back to sit down.

For this a grab bar on the wall, to the side, can be a great help – placed just to the side and inline with the front of the armrests of the seat.

I don’t really like any kind of seat without a frame – it just seems like one more accident waiting to happen – and quite frankly, aging is tough enough on our elderly parents, without them hitting the floor because we bought a cheaper plastic seat for them.

Certainly for a parent who is frail, elderly, or both, I would only buy some form of frame with a seat, be it a safety frame or a bedside commode.

And if they don’t have enough strength in their legs, then maybe  it’s time to consider one of the toilet lifts with a seat.

I’m Gareth and I’m the owner of Looking After Mom and Dad.com

I have been a caregiver for over 10 yrs and share all my tips here.

Gareth Williams

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