Many family caregivers take a serious look at installing a walk-in bathtub for their aging loved one. Without a doubt, the bathroom is one of the most dangerous areas in the house for the elderly. More than 66 percent of all bathroom injuries happen while in a tub or shower, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Further, more than 70 percent of seniors use shower facilities that are considered unsafe, according to a University of Michigan study. All this and more makes it a good idea to look at walk-in tubs and whether they are worth it or not.
What is a Walk-in Tub?
A walk-in tub or slide-in tub is a special kind of bathtub that has a door on the side and a built-in seat. Walk-in tubs and slide-in tubs are sturdy and stable, allowing seniors to enter and exit the bathing area without having to lift up their legs over a traditional tub edge. It is often the size of a traditional tub but deeper when filled.
The elderly person sits down in the tub and fastens the door. A special seal keeps the water inside and it fills up. Many walk-in tubs are equipped with movable shower heads so seniors can clean themselves from the seated position. High-end models also have water jets for massaging and relaxing.
Pros of Walk-in Bathtubs
- Minimum risk for slipping and falling, thanks to no thresholds to step over and handrails to help get in and out.
- Built-in seat is convenient and comfortable for seniors so they can be as steady as possible as they bathe.
- Faucet handles are easy to reach, making it better for adjusting water temperature and minimizing the risk of accidental scalding.
- Eliminates all riskier bathroom features like traditional tubs and glass-door showers.
- Can be installed over existing tub or shower spaces by professionals.
- Using a walk-in tub usually doesn’t require assistance from family members or elder care aides.
- Some aspects of cost may be covered by grants or state programs.
- Cost of walk-in tubs may be tax deductible as a medical expense if purchased for medical safety reasons or in some cases the expense of this home modification can be included as a dependent care tax credit.
Cons of Walk-in Bathtubs
- The remodel requires professional installation from a knowledgeable plumber with experience in converting a traditional tub or shower into a walk-in tub.
- Getting in and out of a walk-in tub does require some use of legs as there is no way for seniors to slide from a wheelchair to the tub seat—only slide-in tubs allow a seat-to-seat transfer.
- The tub and the installation can be quite costly, anywhere from $500 up to $6,000.
- Users must enter the tub and wait for it to fill and they cannot open the door to exit until the tub is drained.
- In some cases, older water heaters are not able to provide enough hot water for a large walk-in tub.
For some seniors and their family members, putting in a walk-in or slide-in tub is a good solution for personal hygiene and care. Any improvements that can be made to help family caregivers and elder care aides attend to the elderly loved one will go a long way toward boosting health and wellness for everyone.
If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring elder care in Anderson, SC, contact Heart of the Carolinas Home Care at 864-991-3116. Providing Home Care Services in Greenville, Simpsonville, Greer, Anderson, Spartanburg, Mauldin, Seneca, Laurens, Charleston, Columbia and the surrounding areas.
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