Walk-in tubs and showers are a staple in any home in which one hopes to age in place. Curbed tubs are dangerous, and provides a significant safety hazard to seniors. Curbless and walk-in tubs are not absolutely necessary for making your restroom accessible. There are seating options that you can purchase that will help you use a curbed shower to the best of your ability, as outlined in one of our previous articles here. These mechanisms can be clunky, large, and have been known to wear out quickly. If you’re serious about remaining in your home, having at least one bathroom that is function, preferably on the first floor, is a huge asset.
So where do you start? How do you know which walk-in tub will work for you, your spouse, or your parent? Is a shower better? Here are the top things to consider when making this choice:
Think About Your Daily Routine
Walk-in tubs fill and drain while you are inside it to avoid slipping, which means that a walk-in tub takes quite a bit more time than a walk-in shower. Walk-in tubs do most often come with a showerhead, so you wouldn’t have to wait for the tub to fill regularly. Walk-in tubs also require the user to bathe sitting up, so if you like long baths, you may want to consider that experience, and if it’s appealing to you.
Realistically, How Long Do You See Yourself Staying In This Home?
If you’re looking to renovate your home for the next 10-15 years but could see yourself downsizing or moving into a retirement community after that, a walk-in tub is not the best option. Walk-in showers have the benefit of being more aesthetically appealing and on-trend, while walk-in tubs serve a very specific purpose. Walk-in showers can be made completely accessible while still upholding the aesthetic and architectural appeal, like this walk-in shower below. Adding removable grab-bars will ensure that when you want to sell, you don’t have to completely overhaul your space.
Consider The Future of Your Mobility
Walk-in tubs are a great solution for easier bathing for seniors, but they are obviously, as their name suggests, walk-in. It is possible to get into a walk-in tub if you use a wheelchair, but it’s quite a bit harder to do so than with a walk in shower, especially if you’ll need to utilize extra equipment that may not fit into the small space of the walk-in tub.
Extras & Therapeutic Features
Walk-in tubs aren’t just great for those with mobility issues, they often provide therapeutic features that can be helpful for sore muscles, aches and pains, and the lymphatic system.
When it comes to accessible living, the key to successfully ageing in place is considering your daily activities and how you can make them as accessible as possible. The bathroom is an important place to start, so think carefully about which options will work best for you as you age. To view the full IA Checklist for accessible living, click here.