The decision to purchase a walk-in tub is not only a big decision; it can be a difficult one. Some people love their walk-in tubs, while other people don’t. Some reviews make them sound as if they’re the best purchase a person can make, and some point out every reason why you should never get one. Perhaps worst of all is the fact that there have been a few walk-in tub companies with bad ethics who have damaged the reputation of the industry as a whole.
Overall there is no right or wrong answer to the question of whether or not a walk-in tub is right for you. What some people see as positives, others see as negatives and vice versa. The best you can do is to make an educated decision based upon the facts. It is up to you decide whether each piece of information is in fact a pro or a con. With that in mind we’ll explore several points of interest related to walk-in tubs, and point out what we feel you should be made aware of.
Walk-in Tubs Safety
There is no question that slips and falls in the bathroom, and more specifically in the bath tub, are a major concern for senior citizens. Walk-in tubs promote the safety and security you will have with things such as handrails, seats and textured pads which prevent slipping even when wet.
Just having a curbless entrance into the bathtub itself will greatly reduce the risk of injury. Then you add in the fact that you will be able to sit down on a seat to submerge yourself rather than having to lower your body all of the way to the ground. In addition to this, there are two or more handrails you can use to steady yourself or assist in standing and sitting. All of these things combined truly do add to the overall safety.
If you eventually need assistance with bathing, the dynamics of these tubs make it all but impossible for someone else to help. There is not enough room for a second person inside of the tub, and the depth means that someone standing outside of the tub would not be of much use. There is also the risk that you may have a medical emergency while you are inside of the tub itself. If you began developing chest pains while bathing for example, you cannot simply get out of the tub to go get the phone to dial 911. Instead you have to wait for the entire tub to drain. The alternative is to open the door and allow all of the water to spill out on the floor, creating the very hazard you are trying to avoid in the first place. We recommend that you get a waterproof medical alert device to help eliminate this potential risk.
Ease of Pain
It is widely accepted that submerging your body in warm water can greatly reduce muscle pain as well as pain related to arthritis. This is what walk-in tubs are designed to do and part of what is attractive to so many buyers.
Many people have reported that they have actually been able to reduce the amount of pain medication they take for things such as arthritis and fibromyalgia by using their walk-in tubs daily. This would also work if you have a hot tub, but not everyone has the space for that. In addition to this, hot tubs are typically placed outside which is not conducive to use on hot summer days, whereas a walk-in tub is indoors and can be used whenever needed.
Unless you spend extra money to have a tub that both fills and drains quickly, you will have to sit in your tub waiting for these things to happen. Sitting there while you are wet, waiting for the 50-80 gallons to fill or drain sometimes isn’t worth the effort and may cause the pain you just got rid of to return. Possible solutions may be to look for a walk-in tub with a heated seat, or to use this time for rinsing off with warm water from your hand held shower wand.
Most people will agree that the costs associated with getting a walk-in tub can be quite high. This is one area where some companies have hurt the reputation of the industry as a whole by not being up front about what costs you can expect.
You may not think of anything related to costs as a pro, but there are some things to consider. Typically a walk-in tub will not raise the value of your home. If you are in a retirement community though, you will definitely see an increase in home value. Another thing to consider about the costs associated with these tubs is the overall value it can add to your life. How much money will you actually be saving by preventing a potential trip to the hospital should you slip and fall in a regular tub?
Many tubs that are advertised don’t include the costs of extra things like water jets, or fast filling/draining fixtures. In addition to this, installation costs may be higher depending on your bathrooms size and dimensions. You should also be aware that many home hot water heaters are not adequate to fill the entire tub with enough hot water. Tankless water heaters are often recommended and can add an extra few thousand dollars to the overall cost. If you do decide to get quick fill/drain fixtures there may be additional plumbing costs associated with the installation to allow for bigger pipes leading up to and away from your bathroom.
As you can see, there are many variables in choosing whether or not to purchase a walk-in tub. It’s all a matter of preference and what is important to you.