For various seniors, walk-in tubs are a safe alternative to standard showers. For a few, however, walk-in tubs aren’t a good choice and a walk-in shower can be preferable. When the bathroom is considered, the most common question one can have is whether they should install a walk-in bathtub or a walk-in shower.
The Pros of a Walk-In Tub
If you are unfamiliar with the concept of a walk-in tub, imagine a tub that’s deeper than a standard tub but not as wide. A seat is built into one side, across from the tap, and one wall of the tub functions as a door. The door seals tightly shut to prevent leakage. Several walk-in tubs can come equipped with hydrotherapy jets, which can ease the pain of arthritis and muscle pain. It is the best choice for seniors who have a limited ability to exercise and require muscle and joint stimulation.
The seat keeps the bather from sinking completely into the water and keeps them from having to exert a good deal of energy when getting into or arising out of the tub. Most of the time, these seats are equipped with textured pads for preventing slippage. A small amount of effort is required to use walk-in tubs vs showers. Walk-in tubs are most useful for seniors who have mobility problems and suffer from disorders like vertigo. When the door is open, the entrance to the tub isn’t far above the bathroom floor, removing the need to step over a higher threshold. This decreases the difficulty of balancing and the risk of falling or tripping.
- It is safer and more accessible for elderly and disabled individuals, which makes it an ideal option for aging in place.
- It offers great water depth for a comfortable, immersive bath experience.
- Despite its depth, the water amount used is comparable to traditional tubs.
- Extras like handrails, non-slip flooring, anti-scald valves are included.
The Cons of a Walk-In Tub
While walk-in tubs solve several issues related to bathroom safety, they can’t be a great fit for all seniors. When comparing walk-in tubs vs showers, it is necessary to keep the capabilities and needs of a loved one in mind. In the United States, it’s estimated that about one million citizens over the age of 65 utilize wheeled mobility devices. Not all walk-in tubs will be suitable for those who utilize wheelchairs because transitioning from the wheelchair to the seat in the tub can’t be possible for them to handle on their own. Maybe one of the problems with a walk-in tub for seniors is the need to stay seated in the closed tub while it’s both draining and filling. Depending on how long this procedure takes, it can leave your loved one feeling chilly and uncomfortable. To accommodate this problem, several walk-in tub manufacturers updated their technology to include fast-fill faucets and an effective draining system.
- You cannot prefill the tub, but rather have to get in, sit down and begin adding water. Similarly, you have to empty the tub before getting out.
- Installation can be pricey.
The Pros of a Walk-In Shower
For those senior citizens who will prefer a shower over a tub, it’s suggested that the higher threshold of a tub and shower combination is removed. If both are required, it will be good to have a shower that’s fully separated from the tub to remove the need to step over that threshold when showering. Showers can be preferable because they offer an effective and thorough cleaning. The water steady stream coming from overhead can make tasks like washing hair easier than when seated in a tub.
- Can occupy less space
- Cleaning is easy, with some places where dirt, etc. can collect
The Cons of a Shower
If you do not have space and resources to make a shower safe to utilize for elderly people, there are many risks at work. For a shower to be safe for a person who’s elderly or has limited mobility, you should install safety tools like handrails, sturdy, and slip-resistant seating. It is possible that you will require a detachable hand showerhead so they can spray anywhere they want to while sitting. If the shower floor doesn’t have any texture and grip, the surface will become slippery when wet. Without handrails and seating, there is a small effort that an elderly person will have to increase their balance and catch themselves if they start to fall.
- Not practical for children
- Potential slip hazard
- Expensive for installation
Obviously, you want the senior citizens in life to be very happy and safe. Now as you know the pros as well as cons of walk-in tubs versus walk-in showers, you need to have a family conversation. Sit down with your loved ones and discuss their own needs. The change in capabilities that comes with aging is a sensitive subject, but if everybody is included in the decision then they’ll feel empowered and know you are listening.