Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding to Install a Walk in Tub
If you are thinking about installing a walk in tub or shower in your home, or in the home of an aging adult or someone with mobility impairments, you should consider the answers to several questions. Yes, a walk-in option for bathing will help someone bathe independently and provide a space in which you can create a home-spa experience (and who wouldn’t want a home spa?), but if you want one, there are affordable options as well as high-end models that will give you a tub or shower fit for a king.
What should you think about before making your decision?
Well, first and foremost, the person using the shower and tub. Who will use this space the most? Is it you? Is it an aging adult? Is it someone with mobility impairments (from someone who suffers from vertigo to someone with arthritis)? What will their needs be, not just now but going forward. How tall is the person? How much do they weight? Will they need a seat in the tub?
How much can you spend on a Walk in Tub?
You will not only pay for the walk-in shower or tub but there will be an installation fee as well. And if you want to add-on options (like an 18-jet whirlpool system), that will increase the cost. Of course, you may recoup this cost when you sell the property, and you may be eligible for tax benefits for installing something that is primarily for someone with a medical condition (see other blog posts on how to benefit from existing tax laws).
How much space do you have?
Walk-in bathtubs can come in many shapes and sizes, and a good contractor or company will have a variety of options that can fit any sized bathroom. Are you retrofitting an existing shower or tub? Are you taking out what you currently have and replacing it with a walk-in unit? Answers to these questions may determine your final cost as well as the size of the unit you can add to your home.
How high can someone step to get into the tub? Do you want the unit flush to the floor? Do you want there to be a tiny lip for someone to step over? Again, the person primarily using the unit will be the one to keep in mind when making this decision. All units have some form of closure, to make sure that water does not get onto the floor.
And speaking of doors. Do you want one that swings inward or outward? Do you want a level or handle on the door? Or, do you want the door to open or close with the push of a button? Keep in mind that inward-swinging doors can be difficult to use, especially for someone with arthritis, and may not provide someone with the best opportunity to get out of the tub. Outward-swinging doors will give someone the best way to get into and out of a tub.
Converting your existing tub or shower is the most affordable way to go, but this may not be the best long-term solution for the person primarily using the shower or tub. You may not be able to get around the existing lip that someone has to step over to get into the shower or tub, which may not solve your current or future concerns.
Contractors and companies that specialize in helping adults live independently can help you decide the best option for you. But having answers to some of the questions listed above will help you have a general idea of the direction you want to go in.
Remember, there are no right or wrong answers. All that matters is making sure that who is using the tub or shower has the best user experience, and is able to safely use it.