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26% of household falls occur in the bathroom (source). The safer your bathroom is, the longer you put off the fall that leads to the nursing home. That’s why I’ve hand-picked these products to prevent falls from occurring in the first place.
I definitely prefer the toilet frame design that sits on the floor, and not the one that sits on the toilet bowl under the seat. The floor variety is more stable. If you push down harder on one side than the other, the toilet prevents the frame from tilting over. The floor variety is also easier to clean because it’s not literally on the toilet bowl.
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Who Needs a Toilet Rail?
If our knees bent the way they used to, getting on and off the toilet wouldn’t be a problem. With arthritis and weakness, though, sitting down on and getting up from the toilet can present a falling risk.
A toilet rail can help stabilize sitting and standing at the toilet for anyone with a weakness or stability issue, such as people who have had:
- knee replacement
- general surgery
- balance issues
Use a Toilet Rail to Prevent Bathroom Falls
A toilet rail sits firmly on the floor, and surrounds the toilet on the back and sides. Installing it is a matter of placing it behind the toilet and letting it rest on the floor. The purpose is to give you two sturdy handrails to use for sitting down and for standing up.
My Favorite Toilet Rail
My favorite toilet rail is the Vive found on Senior.com. Vive sells this rail with a lifetime guarantee. Customers uniformly say this unit is sturdy and stable.
It’s very lightweight. You can move it from room to room without disassembling it. To move it to another location, you can undo the tighteners and then re-tighten on site.
Three Points of Stability
The Vive rail surrounds the toilet on the sides and in the back. If has three feet on the floor, with the front open so you can get to the toilet. The toilet itself is part of the stability, because the rail cannot get past the toilet on either side. So if you place more weight on one side, the toilet prevents the rail from collapsing to that side.
The Vive Rail Fits Most Toilets
The Vive will fit around any standard toilet, whether that toilet is round or elongated. In case your toilet is not standard, the Vive’s dimensions are:
- 28 in. wide
- 19 in. deep
- 25.5 in. wide at the middle
- 21 in. wide at the handrails
- height is not adjustable.
Vive Rail Assembly
The rail consists of a few pieces that you will need to assemble together. You just tighten the connections by hand, no tool is needed. It’s very simple but if you have an issue with this type of work, you’ll need to ask for help.
Vive Toilet Rail Materials
The toilet rail handles are made of a non-latex soft foam with a non-slip coating. The rail is steel, and there are four points of rubber at the four corners that meet the floor.
How to Clean the Vive Rail
To clean the toilet rail, spray it with a disinfectant, and wipe with a soft cotton cloth. You can also spray the cloth first and wipe down the rail with that.
Stability Concerns for Special Medical Situations
The Vive rail is not bolted to the floor. This means that excessive weight on one side will cause a tipping action on that side. Because the toilet is in the way, the rail will not collapse to one side.
However, it does not offer 100% stability, either. The rail is designed to accept weight from both sides. Uneven pressure will cause a slight tipping action which will affect sensitive users.
If you are worried about a one-sided use event where you slip to one side and cannot push down equally on both sides, consider having a contractor bolt the rail to the floor.
Toilet Seat Depth with the Vive Rail
The Vive rail helps you to stay stable while sitting down and standing up. It does not raise the height of the toilet seat. This means you will need to sit just as deeply with the Vive rail as you would without it.
If you have trouble sitting because your knees or some other issue makes it hard for you to bend that deeply, you might consider getting a toilet seat riser. These sit on the toilet deck and raise where your bum hits the seat. They allow you to bend less than you have to without them.
Using a Toilet Rail in a Tub? No!
Some customers have asked if they can use this rail in a tub. It is not engineered for a tub, and I would say “no” you should not do that.
The toilet rail has stability because the toilet itself prevents the rail from arching over to either side. If it sits in an open area without a bulky toilet between the rails, it loses that part of its strength. Keep it wrapped around the toilet where it belongs.
Using a Toilet Rail at a Couch or Chair? No!
Do not use a toilet rail to help sitting or standing at a couch or chair, either. You can get devices specifically for help at couches and chairs that offer far more stability than a toilet rail can give you. Those devices use the weight of the couch or chair to give you stability.
Can the Vive Toilet Rail Be a Tripping Hazard?
Properly placed, the Vive rail is not a tripping hazard. The front of the unit sits under the toilet, not where your feet will go.
If you look at the picture below, you can see that the girl’s feet reach past the tips of the toilet rail front feet. There is a small section of rail that is parallel with her feet. Users consistently say they do not have tripping issues with this design, and that makes sense. When you are sitting, the tip of the footing is parallel with the back of your feet. But once you are standing, the bowl prevents your feet from going back to where the rail feet sit.
The Vive Toilet Rail is consistently 5-star rated for stability and strength.
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