The ability to get on and off the toilet can mean the difference between living at home and having to move into long-term care for frail older adults. Osteoarthritis, affecting over 7 million people in the US and Canada, is very common in those who are frail, making it difficult for them to use a standard-height toilet. The image above on the left depicts a bathroom layout that we found during a home visit with a gentleman who was unable to use his toilet independently because he needed a walker.
We are developing a device, called ToiLocator, which would allow the toilet to be repositioned in a bathroom to make it more accessible, as well as raising the height of the toilet (shown above on the right). A waste pipe extends from the toilet towards the original waste pipe so that a reconstruction of the bathroom layout is not necessary. In its new position, there is enough space for the user to approach with an assistive device and for a caregiver to assist the user without them adopting extreme postures. The photo below shows Adam with the concept prototype he built.
The toilet relocating device will be an economical alternative to a more costly bathroom renovation or need for institutional care, which may otherwise be required, and makes even temporary installation and removal possible without any damage to the bathroom. We have planned a series of focus groups with older adults and home caregivers to show a first set of prototypes of the device and receive feedback.