Toilet paper.  It is a simple thing.  But when you can’t reach it, it can be a disaster!

Ideally, toilet paper should be within clear sight and reach while seated on the toilet. This includes several components that may be impacted by a person’s functional limitations or health concerns.

Location: Reaching too far forward, backward, up, or down can be difficult for people with mobility impairment.

Visible: Having to search to find the toilet paper can be difficult for people with visual impairments or cognitive impairments (such a developmental delays or autism).

Ease of use: Changing the toilet paper roll should be as easy as possible, especially for people with limited hand or arm use (such as chronic arthritis).

 

Common problem and solutions:

This example was found in a memory care unit. Can you find (and then reach) the toilet paper?

Problem:

There is no wall to attach the toilet paper in an ideal spot.

Solution:

Use a free standing holder that can be placed anywhere that works best for the home owner.

Problem:

It is difficult to put a new roll of paper into holder using the typical spring mechanism because it requires two hands and dexterity of the thumb and fingers.

Solution:

Replace the holder with a new holder that the paper can easily slide onto, specifically one that can be used with one hand or limited hand function.

Problem:

Many people try to use the holder to push or pull when trying to stand, but typical toilet paper holder will break or pull off the wall leading to injuries and falls.

Solution:

Install a toilet paper holder that is also a grab bar that is installed into studs or with special anchors to withstand additional forces without breaking.

Problem:

Toilet paper is hard to locate (visually or cognitively).

Solution:

Paint the wall (or use building materials) on the area behind the toilet paper in a dark color to create contrast with the white paper (or use spray paint or brightly color tape on the toilet paper holder.)