My Life Really is in The Toilet!!

I’ve finally met someone who sees eye-to-eye with me on toilets; Phil Kaplan , the ADA coordinator of Palm Springs. I had an interesting meeting with Phil yesterday, just to touch base on access in Palm Springs and to get some first-hand recommendations on accessible tourist sights in town.

Well, go figure, we got to talking about toilets.

For those of you who don’t know, I spend a lot of time looking at toilets — in hotels, lodges, hostels, inns and B&Bs around the world. In fact, I have a large collection of toilet photos. And yes, PR folks *always* give Charles that “odd look” when he snaps a photo of the throne in the accessible guest room.

Rest assured those photos are not for Charles’ personal enjoyment. I use them for reference, as toilet details are very important. Phil actually understands that. It’s nice to talk to somebody who actually gets it.

The truth is, all toilets are not created equal. First we have a height issue. The code says between 16-19 inches, and to many folks that 3-inch range is the difference between an independent transfer and landing on the bathroom floor.

Of course a raised toilet seat can be added if needed, but the problem with that is some properties forget to take it off. Ideally it should only be added when requested and then promptly removed before the next guest checks in. If left on, the raised toilet seat makes the toilet higher than code, and ultimately unusable for many people. Unfortunately, more often than not, those raised toilet seats stay attached for the life of the throne.

And finally there is the grab bar issue. Yes, most toilets have grab bars these days, at least the ones in the accessible guest rooms. But the big issue is, where are they? Well code says you need to have one on a side wall and one on the back wall. But which side wall? Does it make a difference? Well to somebody who has had a stroke or has weakness on one side it does. These folks usually need a grab bar on a specific side.

The problem is, you never really know where that grab bar will be. And since my conversation with Phil reminded me of that fact, I figured I would remind you as well.

If you need a grab bar on a specific side of the toilet, don’t hesitate to ask the hotel for specifics. If the reservation clerk doesn’t know about grab bar placement, then ask to speak to somebody in housekeeping. These are the folks that know every detail about the guest rooms, as they clean them every day.

Yes, it takes a little extra time, but if it gets you the room you need, then it’s well worth the effort.

And that’s what I learned in Palm Springs today!