Walk-in tubs, Zero Entry showers and tub-cuts provide a luxurious and safe bathroom.
A walk-in tub is a bathtub with a watertight door that allows the bather to step into the tub over a low threshold to increase safety while getting into the bath. The door closes, the tub fills with water and after draining the bath, the person opens the door and steps out safely.
While many models are taller than they are wide, there are many different models and configurations available to meet the needs of almost every customer and housing situation. For example, there are walk-in tubs available for easy transfer from a wheelchair to the tub seat; often called slide through tubs, nearly the entire front of the tub opens to give the necessary width. There are also larger size walk-in tubs for those who are heavier.
Because there is no need to step over a tall wall, walk-in tubs provide a deeper water depth when compared to traditional tubs. A standard bathtub has a depth of 13 to 14 inches, while walk-in tubs can provide up to nearly four feet of water depth for a comfortable immersion experience while seated securely.
Many walk-in tub models also have hydrotherapy jets available and other luxury features such as chromotherapy lighting and heated seating.
Much of the remodeling suggested for aging in place revolves around bathroom safety, specifically preventing falls. Over one-third of adults over age 65 fall each year and over 80 percent of those falls are in the bathroom. Walk-in tubs generally provide an array of features designed to reduce falls. These often include built-in handrails, an ADA compliant overall design, anti-slip flooring, contoured built-in seating, and a low step height for entry.
Some models also include wide doors designed to allow those in wheelchairs to transfer easily to the tub seat without assistance. Another safety feature, although not related to falls, is a scald prevention valve, designed to prevent hot water burns.
Certain walk-in tub models offer a lot of features in a single tub. Rather than purchasing modifications such as over tub seats, add-on handrails, anti-scald valves, and non-slip flooring, a walk-in tub combines all of these features and more in one package. This can reduce the amount of construction needed in your bathroom for remodeling as well as reducing the time required to make the modifications. Often, an experienced walk-in tub installer will simply be able to remove your existing tub and insert the walk-in tub in the same space.
The benefits of warm water for seniors in reducing certain aches and pains, along with speeding the healing of certain injuries such as burns or ulcers is well known. Hydrotherapy can also help patients recovering from amputations or dealing with conditions such as arthritis. In addition to simply being able to soak in deeper warm water, many step-in tubs have hydrotherapy jets similar to what you would find in an outdoor hot tub. Several jets of heated water and air agitate the water and provide massage to relax muscles further.
A much less costly option to a walk-in tub is simply doing a tub-cut on your existing tub. You lose out on the already in place safety features of a walk-in tub, but you can easily add a shower chair, no slip matt and hand-rails.
Zero Entry showers can really enhance the beauty of your bathroom with new tile and fixtures. When seeing a barrier free shower, you will think “wow, this looks really nice”. It won’t even cross your mind how safe a barrier free shower is.
It’s important to choose a reliable company that employs carpenters that specialize in accessibility and specifically has experience installing all three bathroom bathing options of walk-in tubs, tub-cuts and barrier free showers.