What is a walk-in tub and shower?

As people age, it is common for mobility to become a challenge. Simple tasks like getting in and out of the bathtub can become difficult and dangerous. Fortunately, there is a solution to help seniors maintain their independence while also ensuring their safety: the walk-in tub/shower combo.

A walk-in tub/shower is a hybrid tub and shower. It is where you enter a safe step tub and a watertight door behind you upon entering. You can choose to wait for the water to fill the tub to take a bath, or you can shower as you normally would and not fill the tub and let the water drain. What separates this from your normal bathtub and shower is that you do not have to worry about slipping when stepping over the tall ledge into the tub. Instead, you can open the watertight door, close it behind you, and based on personal preference, either shower or bath. These tub/shower combos come in various designs and styles, such as a bariatric tub or an American standard whirlpool tub, so find one that suits your needs and desired style.

What are the benefits of a walk-in shower tub combo?

There are so many benefits of a walk-in shower-tub combo!

  • Safety: Older Adults who are more at risk for slipping or falling when entering their existing bathtub could be risking an accident, or they are unable to due to mobility difficulties. A walk-in tub shower combo decreases your risk of falling or slipping greatly with an accessible tub with safety features such as a grab bar, a door seal, and a safe step to easily get in.
  • Comfort: Having a walk-in tub shower combo could enhance your comfort as a hybrid tub. These walk-in tub/shower combos are specifically designed with comfort in mind to benefit assisted living. They often have built-in seating and a detachable shower wand making it easier to bathe and shower without straining.
  • Supports Independence: Often, seniors require assistance bathing due to the potential hazards or inaccessibility of builder-grade showers/tubs. However, installing a walk-in tub/shower combo can help support independence, compared to a standard tub, while allowing them to bathe with dignity, and safely, and independently.
  • Therapeutic Benefits: Many tubs feature hydrotherapy jets, water jets, or air massage options, which can help alleviate joint and muscle pains, increase circulation, and reduce stress.
  • Potential Increase in Home Value: Installing a walk-in tub/shower could increase the home’s value. Many home buyers are looking for any accessible feature that make aging in place easier, and walk-in tubs/showers are among the most popular features.
  • Drain Speed: The walk-in tub/shower combo feature a fast draining system. Since it will take a lot of water to fill, it drains quickly so that you can exit your tub/shower quicker.

What are the negatives to a walk-in shower/tub combo?

  • Installation: The installation process could be a con to getting a walk-in shower/tub combo. It is important that when you purchase a tub, you hire a trained professional who knows how to install one. You don’t want anything installed improperly that could cause problems. Still, there aren’t any disturbances in your daily life during installation.
  • Water Usage: These tubs hold more water than the traditional bathtub. Luckily most homes have water heater tanks that can easily fill a walk-in tub, so you can still have hot water for warm baths. Just be aware that it takes much longer to fill these tubs and requires much more water.
  • Cost: The average cost is around $2,000, but they vary depending on size, style, brand, and add-on features before labor and installation. They cost more than a traditional bathtub, but you get more features than a traditional bathtub.

Are there dangers to showering for seniors?
While showering is generally safe for seniors, there are a few risks that caregivers and family should be aware of. These include:

  • Slip and Fall Hazards: Wet floors and slick surfaces can increase the risk of slipping accidents. Seniors may also struggle with coordination and balance, making them more susceptible to accidents.
  • Temperature Regulation Issues: Seniors may be less sensitive to temperature changes, which can put them at risk of getting burns or scalds from hot water.
  • Dizziness and Lightheadedness: Seniors may experience dizziness or lightheadedness while showering, particularly if the water temperature is too hot or if they stand up too quickly.
  • Limited Mobility: Seniors with mobility issues may struggle to step out of a traditional bathtub or shower, increasing the risk of accidents.

While there are plenty of risks to worry about, it is best to be prepared in every way possible.

Should I install a shower/tub combo?

If you are a senior or caring for seniors experiencing mobility issues, installing a walk-in shower/tub combo could be wise. These accessible bathroom fixtures can provide many benefits, including increased safety, comfort, and independence.

When considering a walk-in shower/tub combo, it is important to consider factors like size, safety fixtures, and overall design and style. Working with a professional installer can help ensure that the shower/tub combo is installed properly and meets your needs. If these things fit with what you are looking for, consider having one installed.

How do I install a shower/tub combo?

  1. Choose the Right Tub/Shower Combo: First, select the right walk-in tub/shower combo that fits your needs, preferences, and budget. You will want to consider the tub size, features, and design to ensure it fits your bathroom’s layout and requirements.
  2. Remove the Old Bathtub/Shower: Remove and properly dispose of the existing bathtub or shower. Ensure the water and electricity are shut off before you begin removal. You can either do this part yourself or hire a professional if unsure.
  3. Prepare the Bathroom: Clean the bathroom thoroughly and prepare the floor for the new tub/shower. You want to ensure the floor is clean, level, and debris-free
  4. Install the Plumbing: Install the new walk-in tub/shower combo system. This may involve installing new pipes, valves, and fittings to connect them to the water supply and drain.
  5. Install the Tub/Shower Combo: Carefully place the new walk-in tub/shower combo, ensuring it is level and secure. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation and use the appropriate tools to tighten the fittings.
  6. Seal the Edges: Once the tub/shower combo is in place, seal the edges with a waterproof silicone sealant to prevent water from leaking out of the tub and into the bathroom.
  7. Install Accessories: Install accessories with the tub/shower combo, such as grab bars, shower heads, and faucets. You will want to make sure that they are installed properly and securely.
  8. Test the Tub/Shower Combo: Finally, test the tub/shower combo to ensure it functions correctly. Fill the tub with water, check it for leaks, and test the shower head to ensure the water pressure and temperature work correctly.

Installing a walk-in tub/shower combo can be a significant home renovation project. Still, it is worth the investment for seniors with limited mobility. Following these steps can help ensure a safe and successful installation. Suppose you do not feel like this is a “do-it-yourself” project. In that case, look online for local professionals to help you with the installation process.
How can In Home Care help me?

At inhomecare.com, we strive to provide top-notch service to our customers looking for non-medical in-home care, regardless of location. Our mission is to help simplify the process of finding affordable, high-quality non-medical caregiver agencies all over the map. We know that sometimes finding the right fit for you and your needs can be hard and sometimes taxing, and we are here to make it as easy and stress-free as possible. We want to help provide you with reliable information that you can trust about the in-home services around you for seniors who want to remain at home and keep their sense of independence but need some assistance to do it safely. We understand that providing the best care means having the best staff who can help you learn more about the best fit for you. It is a privilege and an honor to provide care and comfort in a dignified and respectful manner while ensuring the safety of the seniors we care for. We are here to help you find the right care that you need.