We assume that toilet seats are oval, a standard size. The only variation may be colour. The truth is far different, especially if you have a disability.
Changes to the WC, particularly the seat, is actually one of the most common home adaptations carried out. If you think about it, that’s not a surprise. Going to the toilet is one of the four key activities of daily living (ADLs), something we do on average eight times a day, so probably more than any other part of our routine.
The right seat makes a big difference to your ability to use the toilet comfortably, effectively and safely. Key influencing factors are your gender and size. Any parent, for a start, will have at least one story of trying to support their offspring over the pan during potty training, to avoid the, slipping through! Similarly, if their offspring was male, of being sprinkled, or soaked, in urine from the child’s inability to aim!
A female with dexterity and/ or mobility issues would find it hard, if not impossible, with a conventional toilet seat to remove or insert a tampon. A person of either sex needing to change a catheter will similarly be restricted. A horse shoe shaped seat makes their life easier.
An obese person will find it hard because of body mass to position themselves accurately over the toilet bowl. They may be sat too far forward, for example. Buttock cheeks may be pushed together by the seat, compromising their ability to evacuate their bowels easily, effectively and cleanly. A bariatric seat, or bench provides greater support.
Someone who suffers from sensitive skin, sores, spends a long time sat on the loo, or lacks padding on their bottom would find a padded, soft seat much more comfortable.
For all of those above, and anyone who has dexterity and/or mobility issues would also find it useful if they didn’t have to reach through the seat to wipe themselves clean. A shower toilet- one with integrated douching, and ideally subsequent drying, facilities too eliminates that. The complex- and potentially hazardous- manoeuvre of wiping clean is obviated, as, at the trigger, the toilet automatically cleans you. Depending on the make and model, even the trigger options address limitations: they vary, including flush levers, push button controls, soft touch systems, infra red and even remote controls.
The options exist to ensure that, as far as using the toilet is concerned, you are sitting comfortably….