Does My Aging Loved One Need A Walk-In Bathtub?

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As a family caregiver, you probably spend a lot of time helping your aging loved one out in the bathroom getting them bathed or showered for the day. Sometimes, the struggle of using traditional showers or bathtubs becomes so great that your loved one simply can’t function very well within them. Other times, safety becomes an issue and you worry about slip and fall injuries.

Many people in your situation wonder about whether or not it would be worth it to install a walk-in bathtub to make life a little easier for family members and elder care aides to attend to grooming and hygiene.

More About Walk-in Bathtubs

Walk-in bathtubs are specialized bathing tubs that fit into the space of a traditional tub or shower area. They are designed for people that need to eliminate bathing and showering hazards like high thresholds and unsteady footing on slippery tile. Walk-in tubs have a molded seat that is chair-height and a door in the side of the enclosure that swings open and latches shut. The waterproof seal prevents water from leaking out when the tub is filled. The faucet is easy to reach from the sitting position, allowing seniors to control water flow and temperature.

While walk-in tubs are ideal for some situations, they may not be right for other seniors and their family caregivers. If you are thinking about getting a walk-in tub or slide-in tub installed, make sure to do your research and evaluate whether it meets your loved one’s needs.

Benefits of Walk-in Bathtubs

There’s no doubt that walk-in tubs are much safer for seniors than traditional bathtubs. Because the threshold of a bathtub is so high, many seniors have a difficult time stepping in and out without tripping. Similarly, many shower enclosures require seniors to step up and over a threshold for a sliding door or simply the lip that keeps water inside. Walk-in tubs have low or no thresholds, so seniors can easily enter and exit without much trouble.

Walk-in bathtubs also provide a sturdy seat that is built-in to the back of the enclosure. Instead of shower stools or bathtub benches, seniors can sit in the molded seat and get clean. Some models feature water jets in the seat to massage the back and legs. Hand rails and support bars on the side of the walk-in tub provide additional support and leverage.

Drawbacks of Walk-in Bathtubs

There are a few drawbacks when it comes to walk-in bathtubs. Of course, the biggest downside is the expense, which can range from $500 to $5,000 to purchase and install. Another aspect of a walk-in tub that many find inconvenient is that it cannot start to fill until the senior is inside with the door latched. This means they are getting into an empty tub and may have to wait several minutes for it to fill. Likewise, draining the tub completely is mandatory before exiting. Finally, a walk-in tub may not work for seniors that can’t enter and exit the tub on their own, but a slide-in tub (which basically has a larger door and a bench-like seat) may suffice.

All in all, there are many advantages to having a walk-in tub for your aging loved one. Family caregivers
and elder care aides can better attend to hygiene needs when the elderly person is sitting comfortably in a walk-in tub. For many seniors, a walk-in tub provides them with more independence in this area than a traditional tub or shower would, and they enjoy that very much.


If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Middleburg, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.