For an aging adult losing mobility, being able to bathe without help is key to maintaining a sense of independence and privacy. Moreover, a warm bath can help soothe aching muscles and joints and improve health. But when it comes to handicap bathroom solutions, many people are often confused by the difference between walk-in tubs and bath tub lifts.
Walk-in tubs are special tubs that have a door installed on the side so that a senior or someone handicapped can easily open the door and walk into the bathtub without slipping. However, there are many disadvantages that come with a walk-in bath.
First, walk-in baths require professional installation, which often comes at great cost (anywhere from $2,500 to $10,000). Also, using a walk-in bath can be uncomfortable; since you have to enter the tub and close the door before the water is turned on, and wait for the water to drain before exiting, you risk being cold or bathing in a temperature that’s too hot or too cold. Features that remedy this issue (fast-filling faucets, fast-moving drains, and water temperature controls) are often very costly to add on. Finally, unless you live in a retirement community, a walk-in bath will probably devalue your home if you ever decide to sell.
Bathtub lifts, on the other hand, work by carefully lowering the bather to the bottom of the bathtub and are an easy, less expensive alternative to walk-in bathtubs. With weight capacities of up to 375 pounds, bathtub lifts are light, portable, and easy to install. Because you can enter the tub after it’s filled up and leave the bath while there’s still water in the tub, a bathtub lift is also more comfortable than a walk-in bathtub for someone sensitive to temperature changes.
Bathtub lift costs can vary depending on specific models, but they’re generally a fraction of the price of a walk-in bathtub. The seats are comfortable, slip-resistant, and are able to swivel, and reclining positions can be adjusted according to different preferences. The entire design is waterproof (including control unit), and many control units will only allow the seat to lower in the bath if the control has enough charge power left to lift the bathtub out.
When deciding how to adapt your home for an aging adult, you may consider walk-in tubs as an option. However, bathtub lifts are a cheaper, more efficient solution that will help your senior maintain independence. For more information about which bathtub lift is right for you, please contact us.