Walk in tubs for seniors
It might surprise you to discover that most of the accidents involving older adults occur inside the house, commonly in the bathroom. It can happen that one sustains an injury due to slippery floors or when trying to step into the bathtub. Given these obvious risks, it makes sense to think about alternatives, most often in the light of prevention. Aside from using non-slip mats and support rails, you might want to consider the purchase of a walk-in tub. In the paragraphs below, we will offer detailed information on the types, features, and prices of walk-in tubs, so that you are able to take an informed decision.
Best walk in tubs for seniors
Older adults looking to have a spa-like experience in the convenience of their own home may consider these best walk in tubs for seniors that offer safety features like hold grab bars, low step entryway and slip resistant flooring.
And here is another popular walk in tub that is one of the best on the market for seniors as well as for people with disabilities.
Right Drain FULLY LOADED Walk-in Bathtub with Air Jets and Whirlpool Massage Jets Hot Tub|Quick Fill Waterfall Tub Filler|6 Setting Handheld Shower Sprayer|Aromatherapy, LED Lights, and Auto Drain|2753FLWR
- 3 safe hold grab bars
- Slip resistant flooring
- Low step entryway
- 4 Fully adjustable and 7 directional hydro-therapeutic whirlpool massage jets
Empava 53 inch Walk-in Tub Freestanding Bathtub With Left Side Door, WIT373, White
- Ultra-low step-in threshold at just less than 4 inches
- 100% glossy white acrylic
- Perfect for the seniors to enjoy SPA-Like comfort in own home
- Integrated seat
What is a walk-in tub?
In simple terms, the walk-in tub is actually a bathtub that has a door and a seat, allowing seniors to bathe in a safe manner. Thanks to the low threshold, it is recommended for those with limited mobility and balance issues. It is easier for such seniors to walk into their bathtub, instead of having to lift the leg at a certain height. The molded seat is perhaps one of the biggest benefits to incur, with seniors having the opportunity to enjoy the therapeutic effect of their daily bath to the fullest. It is worth mentioning that these bathtubs are deeper than the conventional versions.
Walk in tub prices
The price of the walk-in tub depends on many different factors. Before you start looking around, it might be wise to consider your bathroom configuration. As you most likely already have a bathtub or shower, you should contact the manufacturer or installer, asking the expert whether they will handle the removal. Depending on the model, you can expect to pay between $1,500 and $20,000 for a walk-in tub. Customized versions are more expensive, especially if you opt for additional features. Many installers offer free consultations, so you might consider this option. In this way, you will benefit from an accurate pricing estimate.
The free consultation is useful not only in terms of pricing. The installer comes to your home, assessing both spatial and safety concerns, suggesting a walk-in tub that suits your needs the best. You will also have the opportunity to ask questions, especially with regard to the ease of use. Inquire about height of the step, width and height of the seat, how comfortable the seat is, how accessible are the control, if the dashboard is intuitive. Be sure to ask details about the faucets and showerhead, especially if you are suffering from arthritis and have limited mobility in your hands.
If you are opting for hydrotherapy features, such as the water jets, you will have to pay an extra fee. The same goes for luxury features, including high-end finishes or other decorations. Moreover, if the walk-in tub has to be customized to fit your bathroom configuration, it is clear that the overall cost is going to be higher. Given that walk-in tubs can hold a significant quantity of water, you might have to upgrade both the water heater and the plumbing system. Last, but not least, you will have to factor in the installation costs, as these sometimes have to be covered separately.
Different types of walk-in tubs for seniors
Just a quick look online will prove that there are many different types of walk-in tubs for seniors. In choosing a particular model or size, you will have to think about your needs and challenges experienced. Some walk-in tubs are more compact, while others are larger, being suitable for more generous spaces. You might not know this for a fact, but there are models that can be used by those with wheelchairs or handicap. Custom tubs are available from certain manufacturers, these being developed in accordance with the senior's specific requirements.
You can expect the width of the walk-in tub to range from 26 to 35 inches. As for the length, this usually varies between 35 and 60 inches. Depending on the manufacturer, you might discover that the standard models have a height that varies between 38 and 40 inches. Taller walk-in tubs are available, reaching up to 47 inches. Many seniors prefer to purchase a custom-made walk-in bathtub, as this is designed in accordance with their bathroom space, not to mention their height and weight.
Each manufacturer has different types of walk-in bathtubs available, ranging from simple yet safe models to the ones that guarantee a more luxurious bathing experience. The soaker tub, for instance, is one of the basic models available. As it has no hydrotherapy jets or other additional features, you can expect for it to have a more affordable price. The door is sealed shut and thus leak proof. The tub comes with grab bars and a handheld shower accessory. The hydrotherapy tub has water and/or air jets, helping with both stiff joints and muscles.
If you prefer taking showers, you might consider a bathtub that has such additional features. Bariatric walk-in tubs are usually recommended for people of larger size. It might have features such as the removable showerhead and water jets. The wheelchair-accessible walk-in tub allows seniors to make the simple transfer from the wheelchair to the tub. They might have a shower option as well. A self-cleaning system is built into the design of high-end models. As a general rule, most tubs are made from materials that resist both stains and mildew development.
Walk-in tub features
As you might discover for yourself, walk-in bathtubs are available in a wide range of colors, sizes, and shapes. High-end models have advanced features to offer, but these are typically more expensive. If you are on the market for such a bathtub, be sure to choose one that has some of the features presented below.
A quality walk-in bathtub will have a low entry threshold, which facilitates the process of entry and exit, with a reduced risk of accidents. It is a known fact that traditional bathtubs have a higher entry/exit point. On the other hand, walk-in tubs have a door, and the step is low enough for one to safely step in or out. You should make sure that the respective tub has a non-slip floor, so that the risk of slipping and falling is eliminated. As the bathtub comes with a door, you should opt for one that has a heavy-duty seal. In this way, the water will be prevented from leaking from the tub. Reputed manufacturers often offer lifetime warranties for this part.
Another feature to pay attention to concerns the drainage. The drain technology should ensure that the water goes away fast, since you are unable to open the door, until the tub is completely drained. The quick drainage will ensure that you won't have to sit for too long, once your bath has concluded. If you are still worried about slipping and falling, you should opt for a walk-in tub that has grab bars. These will take some of the weight off, allowing you to keep your balance in the tub. By grabbing the bars, you will ensure the safe entry and exit, releasing some of the anxiety associated with bath time.
Standard safety features include, as you have seen, the quick drainage, grab bars, and non-slip floors. A heavy-duty door seal will eliminate the risk of leakage, with lifetime warranty being offered for the entire door. If you are suffering from arthritis, you might choose a walk-in bathtub that has level handles. These allow to turn the water on and off without difficulty. For seniors who might enjoy an occasional shower, there is an extendable showerhead wand available. Thanks to this feature, other family members might use the tub.
If you have a higher budget, you might consider investing in a luxury walk-in tub. These have unique advantages to offer, such as the handheld showering wand. This allows you to have a comfortable bathing experience, despite suffering from limited mobility. Some walk-in tubs have modern massage systems, so that the bath time is even more relaxing, with air or water jets offering the best possible massage. The circulating water will remain warmer for a longer period of time. Chromotherapy is available with certain models, with the light transition contributing to the relaxation feeling. Aromatherapy is another luxury feature you might benefit from. The scent of essential oils will make you feel like you are at the spa.
As many seniors might have a hard time cleaning the tub, manufacturers have designed bathtubs with self-cleaning systems. This is especially important for a senior who might have a hard time bending from the waist, with the filters and other mechanisms handling the cleaning process themselves. Higher-end models also have push button controls, so that seniors can use the bathtub easily. The dashboard is intuitive, being located within reach, often near the seat. Some models might have heated surfaces, often in the seat area. The neck and back area might benefit from this as well, with tension and soreness being eliminated as a result. To prevent water burns, many walk-in tubs feature the anti-scald technology, which ensures that the water temperature does not exceed comfortable levels.
It might interest you to know that most walk-in tubs have different configurations available, being suited for both right-hand and left-hand seniors. While a normal tub has a threshold of about 15 inches, with a walk-in tub, the step varies between 3 and 7 inches. With the wheelchair-accessible tub, the threshold is even lower, ensuring the safe access. Depending on your preferences, the watertight door can swing outward or inward. Despite the tight seal, you will only need minimal arm strength to open and close the door. As for the showerhead, this comes with an adjustable force and spray, a feature which is quite useful for those who prefer a lower water pressure.
How to choose a walk in lift
Seniors with limited mobility might consider choosing a walk-in tub with a lift. This type of bath guarantees easy access, with the innovative lift-powered seat automatically lowering the user into the tub. Such models have a slip-resistant base and grab bars for extra safety. The armrests can be folded if desired and there is a back-up battery to ensure functionality at all times.
If you are not certain which model is best suited for your needs, you might consider scheduling a free consultation with an expert installer. There are certain things to be on the lookout for, including the type of lift, whether it has a backup battery, and foldable armrests. The lift should be functional enough to guarantee full length bathing, helping those with limited mobility. A remote control is usually available, so that the senior controls the seat operation. Keep in mind that many manufacturers offer a buyer's guide, which contains all the information you might need to know on the walk-in lift.
The bath lift represents a suitable option for those who have difficulty standing, either due to pain or weakness. The same goes for seniors who suffer from back pain or weakness in the upper part of their body, with balance issues or dizziness as additional manifestations. As you will be informed, the bath lift is secured at the bottom of the bath and it functions as intended, lifting you into the bath. Always choose the model that speaks to your needs the most, especially in the light of the physical challenges you are dealing with.
Whether you need the lift or not, you will have to prepare yourself for a different bathing experience. With the walk-in bathtub, you will get into the tub, shut the door, and turn on the water. When it rises to the desired level, with a comfortable temperature, you can turn it off. As expected, you will have to remain seated while the tub fills. This is the reason why most models feature the anti-scald technology, which eliminates the risk of water burns. To get out of the tub, you will have to wait for it to empty. However, these bathtubs have quick drainage, so it won't last too long.
Why do you need a walk in tub?
First and foremost, it is clear that a walk-in tub will improve the overall quality of life, ensuring that bath time is always a safe experience. Hydrotherapy represents one of the main reasons for which you should consider buying a walk-in tub. A tub that has air and water jets can help you relax, offering a complete body massage. If you are dealing with arthritis or other similar issues, a tub with hydrotherapy features can definitely help. It is a known fact that circulating water can alleviate both joint and muscle pain, having a positive effect on your mood at the same time (endorphin release).
From a practical perspective, a walk-in tub represents a sensible way to prevent accidents and injuries. A lot of the falls occurring inside the home are related to getting in or out of the bathtub, especially in seniors who are dealing with mobility issues. Injuries of this kind are associated with a prolonged hospital stay, the strain of physical injuries being overwhelming. With the walk-in tub, you are eliminating the risk of falling, and consequently the extended hospital visit.
The walk-in tub is simple to use, with the door being easily operated, as opposed to a sliding shower door which presents its own risks. Seniors might rely on the shower door to support their body weight, with an increased risk of falling, due to balance and mobility issues. Walk-in tubs, on the other hand, have grab bars and are much safer to use. You might also look at the walk-in tub as a long-term investment, guaranteed to increase the overall value of your home.
How to install a walk-in tub
As most bathrooms are not configured for a walk-in tub, it is clear that professional installation is required. Depending on the size and configuration of your bathroom, some renovation work might be necessary as well, with the budget being calculated accordingly. The installer will arrive for an initial assessment, so as to determine the level of work and how long the whole process is going to take.
First, the installer will remove the old bathtub, disposing of it in a responsible and sustainable manner. Then, the team will install the new walk-in tub, handling both the plumbing and electrical work. Sometimes, if more extensive renovations are needed, you will have to get a special permit for construction work. To be certified, a walk-in tub will need a secondary drain, which is usually available in the door. The chosen model should comply with both the local building and plumbing codes. Keep in mind that non-certified plumbing fixtures are highly likely to affect the overall insurance cost.
No matter how tempting it might seem, you should never attempt to handle the installation yourself. The process is expensive and time-consuming, not to mention dangerous, as it involves electrical work. As you will see, there are many installers who are happy to offer a free estimate, with the value of your project matching your budget. The most important thing is that you select a reputable company, with a team that has both the practical experience and knowledge to install your tub safely. Once the installation concludes, they should make sure the tub works as intended. They should take the time to show you how to use it, offering long-term maintenance as well.
How to choose the best walk-in tub
When shopping for a walk-in tub, there are various factors to take into consideration, including the overall cost (installation included), ease of use, safety features, additional features, door swing design, and warranty. Some of the most interesting features to consider include: water/air jets, colored LED lights, foot massage, grab bars, slip-resistant flooring, lifetime warranty, handheld shower, quick drain system, etc. The dual-drain feature is particularly important, but it might increase the overall cost of your bathtub. Modern models feature the gravity-driven dual drain technology, with the tub being completely empty in about 80 seconds.
High-end models are more expensive, but they have features you won't find in less pricey models, such as the bidet jets. If your budget allows it, you might consider a walk-in tub with an inline water heater, as this will maintain the warm bathing temperature. A standout feature worth considering is the auto-clean system. Keep in mind that most manufacturers offer lifetime warranty for certain parts, but this is limited to the original buyer (non-transferable).
If aesthetic matters a lot, you will be happy to know that there are modern walk-in tubs with chrome fixtures and stainless-steel door. Seniors who are tall might opt for a walk-in bath with extra length, so that they can stretch their legs completely. You should strive to choose a bathtub that has either digital or push buttons, a heated seat, head support, and a seat riser for extra support. A swivel tray might not seem like a big deal, but it can be quite useful, allowing you to have a drink, read a book, or even keep your phone safe. Many companies offer free technical support, so you can always contact them in case of questions.
For seniors who live with other family member, a walk-in tub/shower combo might represent the best choice. Such tubs have handheld showers and grab bars, as well as adjustable water/air jets. The backrest might be heated and the quick drain system functions without problem. They might come with a clear divider to protect against water splashing all around the bathroom. The high level of customization represents one of the main reasons for which they are so popular. For instance, the water/air jets have different intensity levels. As for the shower, you can choose between brushed nickel or polished chrome finish, regular or extended shower arm, and many other features.
A walk-in tub can help seniors bathe comfortably, without any threats to their safety. Modern-generation tubs have a wide range of attractive options, such as the water/air jets, quick drainage, and heated seating. The step threshold is low, and the bathtub is equipped with grab bars, so that the risk of slipping and falling is genuinely reduced. Even though the cost of a walk-in tub can reach impressive heights, you have to look at this purchase as a beneficial long-term investment, one that can contribute to a better state of health.
You can choose between different types of tubs, with more or less features, or customize the tub of your dreams, according to your needs or challenges experienced. A walk-in lift might increase the level of safety and functionality as well.
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