Is a Walk-In Tub Right For You?
As more older adults choose to age in their own homes for as long as possible, walk-in bathtubs have become extremely popular. They're safe, comfortable and therapeutic. But, are they right for you?
This article will review the most common reasons users give for buying a walk-in tub.
1. You want to manage your pain
Walk-in tubs offer hydrotherapy, aerotherpay, heat, massage and buoyancy. All are designed to offer relief for aching joints, stiff muscles and pain in your feet and back. More specifically, warm water therapy has been proven to benefit symptoms associated with:
- Circulatory Disease
- Joint Pain
- Lower Back Pain
- Muscle Stiffness
- Poor Circulation
Bruce E. Becker, MD, director of the National Aquatics & Sports Medicine Institute at Washington State University in Spokane, recommends soaking for 20 minutes at a time, with water temperatures between 92 to 100 degrees. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says anything over 104 degrees is dangerous. Dr. Becker also recommends you drink a glass of water before and after your bath to stay well hydrated. This is especially important for older adults.
2. You have difficulty taking a bath
If you've reached a stage where you need help taking a bath or shower, but you'd prefer to be doing it on your own, a walk-in tub may be a solution for you, giving you your privacy back.
At some point, despite adding grab bars and adaptive seating, you may still need help getting in and out of the bathtub or washing yourself. The best walk-in tub will give you the ability to get in and out of the tub safely, get up and down from the tub easily and wash yourself with the bath water or a shower head without the need for assistance.
3. You're afraid of falling
Nearly 1 in 3 older adults fall every year. If you've already had a fall, your risk of falling again nearly doubles. All that to say, if you're over 65 year old, and you're afraid of falling, especially in the bathroom, you have good reason.
Lifting your leg over a nearly 2 foot high bath tub lip, while standing on one leg that's on a slippery surface, can be a challenge for many. It's even more difficult if you have range of motion or mobility difficulties.
Walk-in tubs solve this problem by allowing you to enter the tub through a door. You step over a low threshold of 3 to 8 inches, which is much less than the 17 to 19 inch threshold of a standard sized tub. Moreover, walk-in tubs have built in grab bars that help you lower and lift yourself from the built in seat, that are typically designed to be at the height recommended by the ADA, making it easy to wash yourself and get up and down in the tub safely.
4. You want to stay in your home
It's no secret, most older adults want to age in their own homes. You're next to friends and family, you're comfortable in your own space, you don't want to deal with the stress of moving, you don't want to risk not being happy in a new setting, you're not sure you can afford a senior residence, the list goes on.
If you're questioning whether you should move in to a senior residence, it's probably because you're either having difficulties with some or all of the activities of daily living (bathing, toileting, cooking, dressing etc), find it challenging to manage medications, feeling lonely or have a health condition.
If bathing on your own is the most difficult issue for you, a walk-in tub may be the answer. Instead of moving in to a residence so a caregiver can help you bathe, consider a walk-in tub as a solution. A walk-in tub can cost, in total, what an assisted living community may cost for 1-2 months. It may be worth the try.
5. You have a loved one you want to take care of
There's nothing worse than watching a loved one suffer or worrying about their safety. Whether it's your husband, wife, mother or father, we tend to worry about our loved one falling or slipping while getting into the bathtub. A walk-in tub may give you the peace of mind you need.
Walk-in tubs, aren't for everyone. But with so may different types of walk-in tubs available at different price points, there's likely a tub for you. Take the time to understand your options and explore alternatives that fit your needs.
February 10, 2022 at 12:23 pm
How does the water stay at temperature? Outdoor spas have a small heater to keep the water warm. Do any walk-in tubs have that accessory? Or is it necessary to keep adding hot water to thetub?
March 8, 2022 at 9:02 am
Hi James, you have to keep adding hot water.
August 25, 2020 at 7:02 pm
How are walk-in tub doors secured to avoid accidental opening when filled with water?
August 31, 2020 at 11:01 am
There is a lock on the door, preventing accidental openings. Many tub doors also open inwards, so that as the tub fills with water, it puts pressure against the door and seals it from the inside out. This also make it harder to simply open the door. If the door opens outward, then it is possible to unlock the door and open it before the water has had a chance to fully drain. But you'd have to unlock it first.
Hope that helps!
November 11, 2019 at 9:12 am
I personally believe that your article would be beneficial for my grandfather to read. I've noticed that the bathtub currently installed in his home is quite high for him to lift his leg over, and I fear that he could get harmed as a result. I'm thankful that you brought to light that a third of all older adults fall every year, which becomes more likely in the bathroom and as time goes on.
March 15, 2021 at 5:22 pm
Hi! such a bath is my dream since many years ..... meaning since the start of yrs 2000 when it was very rare, almost unknown and considered as a foolish dream ..... I am now in my 90yrs birthday, still does not have such a bath and now I have to be helped by nurses which is very awkward (spelling ?) for my most inner privacy ... all this because my own children think it's madness ..... such reasons have no end ... I lived in Belgium (Europe), since retired I have run away from large cities and now am in an extremely small and "lost" village well away form "civilisation" !!! A bit crasy perhaps but now with Covid I am automatically well protected and moving back into civilization is not the point actually .... - as a foreigner my spelling, grammar and else is well away from correct, but your well written article gave me the desire to write - being in Europe also does not help my chances to acquire one at a reasonable price and/or payment facilities ... if ever mentalities do progress inside my family .... because yes for such an expense I need to be helped ! Never knows I could come back with in business in mind ! but this time my mood and your so well thought article (publicity!) call formy participation !!!!! yes if feeling so this little note can be used (anonimously) for your worldwide pubicity campaigns . From Belgium an ederly "adept" of tiny bath with a door ! MdeM.
March 15th, 2021