Data from the CDC reveals that every 18 seconds, there is a senior adult in the United States that slips and falls. The National Institute on Aging says a whopping 80% of these falls happen in the bathroom.
You can imagine how buying a walk-in bathtub for the elderly can become such a great lifelong investment. While a conventional bathtub requires you to step over at least 15 inches into the tub, a walk-in tub has a swing door, so you don’t have to swing your legs over the edge of the tub.
Walk-in bathtubs also have contoured seats built into them, as well as a plethora of features you may not find in ordinary bathtubs. Here are the things you should know before buying one:
How big is it?
Walk-in bathtubs come in all shapes and sizes, but you will find that many of them have walls that are around three feet high. Widths typically vary between 26 and 36 inches, which should make it easy for you to find a tub that you can fit in.
Does the door swing in or out?
Most walk-in bathtub doors swing in, which can save a lot of bathroom space. However, if you are wheelchair-bound, it is easier to enter the bathtub if the door swings out. Swing-out doors also allow you to leave the bathtub during an emergency without having to wait for the water to drain.
What features does it have?
Basic bathtubs for the elderly often have grab bars, non-slip floors, and hand held showers. There are also fancier options that have all the bells and whistles, including whirlpool water jets, air massage, and in-line heaters, among others.
Does it have a fast-fill and drain feature?
The biggest drawback to buying walk-in bathtubs is you will have to sit in the tub as the water fills and drains. Bathtub manufacturers have addressed this problem by incorporating fast-filling faucets and pump-assisted draining to hasten the process.
Walk-in bathtubs can seem like a hefty expense, especially since they are not covered by Medicare. But if you consider the costs of a hospital visit, they don’t seem too expensive at all. Keep these things in mind when shopping for a walk-in tub.