One of the considerations that most people don't really think about as they get older is the use of the bathroom and especially the shower or bath tub. As we get older, taking a shower can be tiring and dangerous due to slippery conditions. Using a handicap bath tub is a great way to allow easy access for a loved one that is aging and allow them to bathe safely and with dignity.As we age, our bones and joints become stiffer and our agility decreases. Entering into a bath tub to take a shower or bathe can be tiring and risky if a slip or fall occurs. There are several options for bath tubs that can reduce the risk of bathing and make using a bath tub easier and safer.
By far one of the most popular options for safe and easy bathing access is the walkin bathtub. This tub is similar in size to most standard bath tubs that you will find in your home, however that is where the similarities end.
While some models will fit into the standard space that a pre-existing tub was located in, there are some walkin bathtub models that are smaller in length. This can be a good thing depending upon your other requirements in your bathroom for space needs.
Almost all brands of walkin tubs include several standard features that allow for safety and other considerations. These standard features usually include things such as slip resistant flooring, grab handles on the walls and top rails of the tub and heavy duty gaskets and locks that secure the door from leaking.
Another nice feature that many people have reported that has helped with their circulation is the optional water jets, or jakuzzi jets that you can find on some higher end tubs. Some of the jets are placed down low for the legs and feet while other jets are placed on the sides and back of the tub. While most tub manufacturers offer the jakuzzi jets as an option, sometimes you can find them standard on higher end models.One potential concern with the walkin tubs is that you still have to step up into the tub to use it. While the step isn't as large as a standard tub, you still have from 4 to 8 inches of lift for most walkin tubs that you need to lift your foot to gain entry. If you have had a stroke or have other mobility problems, you might want to consider other options such as a roll in tub or other special equipment that can help you gain access into the tub safely.
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The door of most walk in bathtubs swings inwards and latches securely enabling the user to easily get into the tub without stepping over the rim and prevents health care providers from having a lot of heavy lifting.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathtubs
For wheelchair accessible bathtubs, there are models that are similar to the walk in bathtubs except that they are raised up off the ground and have a large sliding door. The door simply slides to the side to open, and the individual is able to slide from the wheel chair into the tub. These are standard sized soaker bathtubs; they've just got these extra added features to make them handicap accessible. These are also great bathtubs for those with walkers, as it prevents bending down to a tub that is sits on the floor.
There are also wheelchair accessible non-soaker bathtubs that feature the same basic design of the walk in bathtubs. These styles have a built in bench, level with a typical wheel chair so it is easier to move from the chair to the bench. Grab bars are almost always provided with handicap bathtubs.
Many handicap bathtubs are available as both built-ins and freestanding tubs. Typically they are available only in the color white but can include some extra features such as additional grab bars, bench seating and wider doors. Some may even feature whirlpool jets and the tools for keeping the water temperature controlled.