Aging in place means preparing of your home to be a comfortable and safe environment as you get older through the installation of universal designs. Things like grab bars, shower seats, wheelchair accessible doorways, chair lifts for stairs, and curbless showers are all options that can be installed to help prevent falls and injuries within the home. One popular universal design choice among aging in place homeowners is walk-in tubs.
Traditional step-in showers and tubs can be dangerous to seniors or people with mobility issues. Walk-in bathtubs can be an easy solution to this problem. These unique tubs are designed with a door on the side, allowing for individuals to walk in and shut the door behind them, minimizing the risk of slipping or losing balance that is often presented when stepping into or out of a traditional tub.
Like traditional tubs, walk-in tubs require professional installation and include a variety of features. Bubble jets, handrails, adjustable shower heads and inside-the-tub seating are a few. They also come in a wide spectrum of sizes, shapes and styles, which can determine their influence on interior design and ease of use. Prices for these tubs also range widely, anywhere from $2,000 for a lower-end model to over $10,000 loaded with features, plus the cost of installation.
You might instead consider using a portable model. These models hook up to an existing faucet, but don’t require the installation and remodeling involved in installing a permanent walk-in tub.
If a walk-in bathtub is on your wish list, a quick review of the Pros and Cons is in order:
• Walk-in tubs make bathing easier and safer for aging seniors and people with mobility issues.
• They are specifically designed to prevent slipping. Handrails, seats and textured pads help prevent accidents and injuries.
• Walk-in tubs also remove the need for a sliding shower door, which can be a serious threat for aging seniors, since many use these doors for stability without knowing the doors weren’t designed to withstand their weight.
• Installing a walk-in bath could raise the value of your home, especially if you live in a retirement community.
• These tubs require you to enter the tub and shut the door before turning on the water. Besides becoming impatient (and maybe chilly) while the tub fills, you could have difficulty getting the right water temperature.
• You also must wait for the water to drain before exiting the bathtub. Although many of the walk-in bathtub manufacturers have addressed these problems with fast-filling faucets, fast-moving drains and temperature controls, these features also add to the total cost of the tub and installation, and don’t always work due to the limitations of your homes plumbing infrastructure.
• Because the walk-in tubs are large, some people need new, powerful water heaters in order to use the tub properly. This is not always the case, but it can cause a big headache and include an even bigger price tag if it happens to you!
If you are considering installing a walk-in bathtub in your home, be sure to consider all of the advantages and disadvantages! If you have additional questions or are interested in other ways you can prepare your home to age in place, please contact Medford Remodeling today! We’d be happy to help make your home a safer, more comfortable place for you and your loved ones!
The Medford Remodeling Team