Pros of walk-in tubs
Walk-in tubs provide you enough water depth when it is compared to normal tubs. A standard bathtub depth is 13-14”, while walk-in tubs can provide up to nearly 4 feet of water depth for a comfortable immersion experience with being seated securely. Seats are 17-inch high, which leaves 20-inch of depth to immerse the torso. Several walk-in tub models have hydrotherapy jets available and other features like chromotherapy lighting and heated seating.
It is recommended to older people to remodel their bathrooms into a safety-first location. Over one-third of adults over age 65 fall, every year and over 80% of those falls are in the bathroom. Walk-in tubs offer an array of features designed to decrease falls. These involve built-in handrails, an ADA compliant overall design, anti-slip flooring, contoured built-in seating, and a lower step height for entry. Few models involve wide doors designed to let those in wheelchairs to transfer easily to the tub seat without assistance. Another safety feature, though not related to falls, is a scald prevention valve, designed to prevent hot water burns.
Specific walk-in tub models provide many features in a single tub. Instead of buying modifications like over tub seats, add-on handrails, non-slip flooring, and anti-scald valves, a walk-in tub combines all of these aspects and more in one package. This can decrease the amount of construction required in the bathroom to remodel and decreasing the time required to make the modifications.
The advantages of warm water for seniors in decreasing specific aches and pains, along with speeding the healing of specific injuries like burns or ulcers are well known. Hydrotherapy may help patients recovering from amputations/dealing with conditions like arthritis. Additionally, to be capable of soak in warm water, several walk-in tubs have hydrotherapy jets the same as what you will find in an outdoor hot tub. Many jets of heated water and air agitate the water and offer massage to relax muscles more.
Cons of Walk-In Tubs
One most annoying disadvantages of these kinds of tubs are that you can’t leave their confines unless all the water that is present in this tub has drained out. As such, it’s advisable to install a heat lamp above it to dry off your body as you wait for the water to clear from it. Most walk-in tubs are raised from the floor level of the bathroom; therefore, even they come with a small step, you’ll have to have a small threshold to step over as you enter the tub.
Due to the time needed to fill and drain a walk-in tub, there’s a risk of becoming chilled. As we age, our skin thins and our circulation slows, making us less capable of conserve body heat or respond to chilly temperatures. These factors combine with some conditions of health such as diabetes that will make seniors susceptible to hypothermia. Hypothermia happens when internal body temperature drops below 95 degrees and for seniors, this can occur even in ambient temperatures in the 60s. Add in wet skin as a tub drains and hypothermia is a real danger even in warm air temperatures. Although heated seats may help, it doesn’t address the upper body. Drying off with a towel as the tub drains and then covering the upper torso with a dry towel or robe may help decrease the chilling’s risk.
Another concern is the temperature. Since you must enter the tub before filling it, there’s no chance to adjust the water and then get it right before exposing your body to the water. Because you sit in the tub when it will get filled, it is easy to become acclimatized to risky temperatures as the water will slowly climb. Due to this, it’s significant that any tub you consider be equipped with a scald prevention valve that’s designed to prevent dangerously hot water from entering the tub. As far as walk-in tubs are considered, it can take a few minutes to get the water temperature adjusted in the tub as it gets filled.
Time to Fill and Drain
Because a walk-in tub has a door on the side of the tub itself, you can’t add/drain water while the door is open. It means you will spend sufficient time sitting in the tub while waiting for it to get filled and then waiting for it to drain before you exit the tub. Few tubs may take as long as 15 min to fill or drain, while few high-end models have features to speed up this procedure. Even with fast-fill and quick drain features, walk-in tubs can take about 8 minutes to fill or drain, leaving an important amount of time where much of the body is exposed to air and may become chilled. One possible way to decrease chilling is to buy a model with a heated seat.
Walk-in tubs may be costly and Medicare doesn’t consider them Durable Medical Equipment (DME). Some states can provide some assistances under their Medicaid programs but most don’t. The base cost of a walk-in tub can range from under $1,000 to over $5,000. Installation prices can change widely, however, prices after installation can run up to $10,000 for the tub and installation, depending on the complexity of the construction required for installation.