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.
Depending on the features of the tub you choose, a walk in bath could run anywhere from $2000 – $9000 if you buy one from a home store.
The installation will cost another $700 – $1500 (as of 2017), depending on prices in your area. Any required electrical or plumbing upgrades could boost that price another $3,000 – $5,000.
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.