Taking care of elderly parents is no joke. It’s a responsibility that grows with time, and that can cause changes that affect everyone in your family. Whether your aging parents are staying in their own home or living with you, you will need to assess the safety aspects of their bathroom. Given the combination of water, soap and slippery surfaces, it’s the most dangerous room in the house. And besides the danger, standard bathroom fittings can become difficult, or even impossible, for frail seniors to use.
One of the best solutions is a walk-in bathtub. It provides easy access through a door in the side of the tub, and a safe, non-slip seat. It eliminates the danger and discomfort that come with climbing in and out of a tub and, for seniors who suffer debilitating joint pain, it can be a godsend when used for hydrotherapy.
Implications for the property
Bathroom safety is, of course, not the only thing you have to think about before you consider making extensive changes. Turning the only bathroom in a house into a bathroom for seniors has implications for the value of your property. For me, this was not too much of a problem. My husband and I have a small cottage on our property, which we’ve completely set up for my mother’s use. With two other bathrooms in the main house, we didn’t have to think twice about whether or not to put a lovely walk-in bathtub in for her.
But if your parents are in your home with you, it may not be feasible to turn facilities that everyone uses into something that only suits them. In this case, you should first look at other possible solutions, such as a reclining lift chair to lower them into the water, as well as bathroom safety rails.
If you do decide to install a walk-in bathtub, look for one that fits in a standard bathtub or shower cubicle size. This makes it easy to one day change the bathroom back for general use and, if you have to sell the property in the future, you’ll have to do that. On the other hand, if you have a large property with several bathrooms, then having one that is suitable for seniors may well increase the overall value of the house .
Looking to the future for home nursing care
Putting in a walk-in bathtub for seniors can add months or even years to their independence, as they’ll be able to bathe themselves far more easily, and without fear of accidents. This option is one that many seniors and their families prefer to nursing homes, and it is most successful when the home environment has been made suitable in every way possible.
Getting an elderly person into and out of the tub can be very difficult indeed. If you’re nursing a parent at home, the likelihood is that you are in your fifties or sixties yourself, and the strain on your back is also a factor to consider. A senior safe tub can make all the difference, taking the stress out of daily ablutions, and sparing you back strain.
What should you consider when choosing a walk-in bathtub for seniors?
- Which bathroom are you planning to convert?
- Check the orientation of the bathtub door (to the left or right, front or back?)
- Does the walk-in bathtub have non-slip surfaces?
- Is it easy to clean?
- Does it have useful extra features, like massage jets?
- Is it good value for the money?
Do your research before deciding which walk-in bathtub to install. We chose a great model from Active Forever, and it’s literally changed my Mom’s life, especially as she’s had major relief from her crippling arthritis pain. She loves the fact that she can bath whenever she feels like it, without waiting for me to come and help her. You can see the one we installed here: the Celebrity walk-in tub.