Walk-in tubs are just one of those products that you either love or you hate. They definitely aren’t for everyone.
But if your senior loved one truly misses the luxury of a bath or if they could benefit from soaking in a bath to help with their arthritis and other general aches and pains, then a walk-in tub may just be the thing you should look into.
What Is A Walk-In Tub Anyhow?
Just like the name implies, walk-in tubs are bathtubs that have a door on the side or front of the tub.
You open the door to a walk-in tub, get in and sit down, then fill it while you are sitting inside. This way, you aren’t stepping over the rim of a standard tub after you’ve filled it – which could result in slipping and injury.
In this respect, walk-in tubs are safer for the elderly than a traditional tub.
How To Tell If Walk-in Tubs Are Worth It
This is one of those questions that doesn’t have a definite answer (sorry).
Knowing whether or not a walk-in tub is worth the money depends on the needs of your senior parent. If they have limited mobility, for example, a walk-in tub can be a big plus for them.
On the other hand, if they do install a walk-in tub, they will likely have to replumb the bathroom, install a bigger water heater, and change out their electrical panel to accommodate it. In that case, a walk-in tub might be more trouble than it’s worth.
The cost of a walk-in tub plus the installation ranges anywhere from $3,000 to $10,000 or maybe even more. Like most anything else, the more add-ons you choose, the higher the price.
Another factor to consider is how easily the tub can be brought in and installed. Normally, walk-in tubs are wider than standard tubs and this can pose a problem when trying to bring them in through a doorway. So, costs can go up if the doorway has to be altered to accommodate the installation process. The cost of the tub itself ranges anywhere from $2,000 to $9,000.
There are several more good and bad points to consider before a senior commits to getting one. You can read about the pros and cons of these tubs in our article, “Are Walk-In Tubs Safe For Seniors?”.
We recommend talking to people you know who already have a walk-in tub, to get their views. Do they think it’s worth it? If they had to do it again, would they get a walk-in tub?
TIP: Don’t rely on manufacturer’s reviews to make a decision. Also ignore the reviews you see online, unless they come from a trusted source like the ones we found here on Consumer Affairs. Keep in mind that reviews can be faked (and often are!).
Read on to find out which walk-in tubs we consider to be the safest for seniors.
Walk-In Tubs We Recommend
For Seniors With Arthritis
Safe Step Walk- In Tubs are the ones that Pat Boone endorses. They are made in the USA and have a lifetime warranty. The tubs also undergo a 14-point quality control inspection before they are shipped out to your home (or to a local retailer).
What we like about the product is their safety features that come with every Safe Step tub. These include:
- anti-slip flooring
- two built in grab bars
- a hand-held shower wand
- anti-scald technology
- a wide, low-entry door
- mold resistant coating
- ozone purification technology
- ADA compliant seating
Another thing that makes their tubs so nice is that they provide features with their standard models that other companies only offer as upgrades.
Examples are: their Dual Massage Hydrotherapy Massage System and their Chromotherapy System to help mood and aid in relaxation. These features may give seniors symptom relief for arthritis, muscle pain, skin issues, and other conditions.
For Wheelchair Bound Seniors
Not all walk-in tubs are wheelchair accessible, but Ella’s Bubbles makes the Ella Transfer60 walk-in tub that can accommodate wheelchair bound seniors Check the price here.
It’s 60 inches long, 30 inches wide and 42 inches high. This size can fit in almost any bathroom since standard size bathtubs are the same size (except they are not as tall). The tub has a 36 inch depth.
What makes it so nice is that the Ella Transfer60 has slide-in access via a door that swings outward so seniors in wheelchairs or with limited mobility can get into it pretty easily.
It also has a 22 inch molded seat to help the bather stay upright during their bath, which is great for someone who has had a stroke or other disability that might make this difficult.
The tub comes with pre-installed grab bars (one is outside the tub, one is inside) and slip resistant flooring.
It has a hand held shower mounted inside the tub, so it’s easy for the bather to rinse their hair or their back.
There are several features that can be added to the tub (things like a fast fill faucet, a head rest, etc) and the company offers packages with dual massagers, hydrotherapy, etc.
For Our Canadian Readers
Safety Bath Walk In Tubs has a large variety of walk-in tubs and conversion kits (and a bit more) for sale throughout Canada and they do have a few outlets in the USA as well.
Walk-in tubs are an excellent option for older adults who enjoy taking a bath. Using a walk-in tub can make getting in and out of bathtub safer.