As more individuals express a desire to age in place, universal design —the concept of making a home more accessible to all who live in it— has taken center stage. One way to make a home more accessible, comfortable, and safe is with the installation of a walk-in tub.
Why are Walk-In Tubs a Good Idea?
The advantages of walk-in tubs are clear. In addition to the safety considerations, there are other perks that mean a walk-in tub is a good idea for any home, but especially for a household where those with chronic conditions or simply the aches and pains of aging can benefit.
Let’s look at the advantages of walk-in tubs:
- Designed with safety in mind. Three million older adults are treated in emergency departments for falls each year, and many of those happen in the bathroom. Handrails, a textured seat and floor, anti-scald protection, quick-fill and quick-drain options, and detachable spray spouts are just a few of the safety features that come standard in most walk-in tubs. The low threshold for entry and the grab bars that allow a person to lower themselves carefully into the tub are other examples of safety first.
- Boosting the value of your home. Accessible features can add value to your home, especially if that home is in a retirement community. Walk-in tubs are a staple of an accessible home that allows several generations to live under one roof, which can be appealing to buyers of all ages.
- Ample space for those who need a bit more. Walk-in tubs come in several models designed to accommodate those who have certain needs. For instance, bariatric tubs can hold the weight of a larger person, and some tubs can handle wheelchair access. Those who have trouble sitting upright can enjoy the benefits of a tub that allows them to recline in the water.
- Hydrotherapy benefits. There’s no doubt a jetted tub feels luxurious. But the benefits of hydrotherapy are clear. Appropriately-placed jets can help relieve the aches and pains of chronic diseases, relax the muscles, increase blood flow, and promote overall wellness through relaxation and mental health benefits.
- Often fits into your existing tub space. For something that offers so many benefits over a standard tub, you might think it takes up a lot more space. The truth is that many walk-in tubs are surprisingly compact and fit just fine into the space taken up by a typical bathtub. In fact, some might take up even less space, allowing you to add in shelves or other features around the tub.
- You don’t have to sacrifice your shower. Some walk-in tubs are available in a tub/shower combo, which can be perfect for households with different generations under one roof. Since a walk-in tub can fit where your existing tub does, the shower portion can stay intact; simply add in a shower curtain for those who want to use the shower, and everybody’s happy.
- Better hygiene for those with mobility issues. Those who have limited mobility might have trouble with day-to-day things most of us take for granted, such as showering or bathing. Those who can’t stand up in the shower or those who have trouble getting in and out of a regular bathtub can turn to the walk-in tub to meet their daily hygiene needs.
- Potentially lower hospital bills. The safety features can help avoid falls and other accidents, while the hydrotherapy benefits and better hygiene can keep a person healthier. These advantages can lead to improved health, fewer doctor visits, and potentially lower medical costs.
- Potential insurance coverage. Though most private insurance will not cover walk-in tubs, Medicare Advantage – run by private insurance companies and regulated by Medicare – offers extra coverage options that might include home modifications or home safety devices. Before buying a walk-in tub, look into all your insurance and payment options for home accessibility projects to determine if you can get help paying for it.
Advantages of Walk-In Tubs and Professional Installation
Walk-in tubs require professional installation by a qualified contractor. This is a large project that requires someone who is licensed and trained to handle the construction, plumbing and electrical work that comes with installing a walk-in tub. Modernize can help you connect with local contractors who can handle the various aspects of such an important job, including those who have experience with universal design elements and helping make a home more accessible.