Bathtubs for Aging in Place

Most home’s bathtubs will become inaccessible to people as they age in place, and will present a significant safety issue over time. You can take several actions to make your bathtub safer for you as you grow older. Three reasonably priced options are 1) installing grab bars and shower seats, and applying anti-slip coating to the tub floors, 2) modifying the bathtubs to create a safer way to enter and exit the tubs, and 3) replacing your current tubs with any of several available varieties of walk-in bathtubs.

Walk-in Bathtubs

A walk-in bathtubs is a solution for seniors or people with mobility issues that cause difficulty in entering and exiting standard bathtubs. Walk-in tubs have a door and safety features that help the person to complete the bathing process independently.

Entering a walk-in tub is a quite different experience than entering a standard tub. There is a wide door that opens into the tub most often, but you can also purchase ones that open out. When the bather is in the walk-in tub, the door is closed and sealed in such a way that water does not pour out.

The threshold crossed to get into the walk-in tub is much lower than that of traditional tub. While a traditional tub is generally about fifteen (15) inches high, the walk-in tub threshold is usually three (3) to seven (7) inches, allowing for an easier step when entering.

Inside most walk-in tubs is an anti-slip floor and grab bars to help prevent accidents for those with diminished balance and stability. Walk-in bathtubs come with built-in seats allowing the bather to sit down and get comfortable.

Because there is a door that opens and closes, the bather must enter the tub while it is empty, turn the water on, and wait for the tub to fill in order to bathe. After bathing, the water must be drained from the tub before the door can be opened. This adds in-tub time to the bathing process which some may not like.

When the door is closed, the walk-in tub is taller than standard tubs. The bather is sitting on the built-in seat, and the water fills to a higher level than in a standard tub. Walk-in tubs use somewhat more water for a bath than standard tubs, and the filing and draining time are correspondingly somewhat longer.

There are two primary types of walk-in tubs to consider.

Soaker walk-in tubs generally comes with the basic features of walk-in tubs, including a door that opens inward, grab bars, and holes for faucet sets.

Whirlpool walk-in tubs provide an added layer of massage therapy that can help people with mobility issues or seniors with arthritis. Whirlpool walk-in bathtubs that have water jets, air jets, or both.

Showers for Aging in Place

For showers, the most accessible option is a roll-in shower that has a curbless (barrier-free) entrance and a door opening of at least 36 inches. This combination allows access for a wheelchair when needed and provides plenty of room within the shower to maneuver.

Roll-in barrier-free showers

Roll-in showers are a great alternative to traditional baths or showers for the elderly or those with physical limitations. These showers are designed to allow the bather to roll into and out of the shower using a show shower wheelchair, or to walk into and out of the shower without having to step over a threshold.

Roll in showers have a surround on three sides and a flat, non-lipped fourth side that is level with the floor—perfect for rolling in a wheelchair quickly and easily. The shower should be large enough for a wheelchair to maneuver within the stall. Most roll-in showers have beveled thresholds about 0.5″ high to allow the wheelchair to roll over.

Safety features such as grab bars and a shower chair or bench can be added to help prevent falls and provide relief for those with weak legs, injuries, and balance issues.

Having a roll in shower in your home is a great way to allow elderly or disabled homeowners to more easily keep their bathing independence.

Other Bath and Shower Features for Aging in Place

An adjustable showerhead that moves to the most comfortable height and position of the user adds accessibility to a bathroom; a hand-held showerhead further enhances functionality. Combined with a shower seat, you will realize greater safety and ease.

Shower seats can relieve the strain that some people experience when standing for extended periods, allowing for a safer shower with a reduced chance of falling. Many choices exist, including shower stools, shower chairs, retractable (fold-up) seats, and built-in seats.

A transfer bench, which allows a person to sit down outside of a tub or shower, slide across into the tub or shower, and remain seated on it during bathing, is another useful comfort and safety device.

Maximize Bathtub and Shower Safety and Usability

To maximize bathing safety and usability, consider these options:

  1. Locate tub and shower water controls near the entry point so they can be reached from outside the tub or shower area
  2. Install lever handle faucets
  3. Put shelves in the tub or shower area for shampoo, soap and washcloths
  4. Install rods or hooks for towels either near or right outside the tub or shower
  5. Acquire or install a shower or tub seat or bench
  6. Control the tub, shower and sink water pressure with anti-scald controls
  7. Install a light in the shower stall

It is essential for the bathroom to be free of slippery walking services, especially directly inside and outside the shower and bathtub area. Anti-skid tile is good for these surfaces. An anti-skid coating could also be applied to the bottom of the shower stall or tub.

Sampling of Bathtub and Shower Safety Products

Below is a sampling of bathtub and shower products and equipment that are designed to help you age in place for a longer period of time. Click on the links to find out more information, see other products selections, and if you like, to make a purchase from one of our providers.

Showing all 8 results

AquaDance 7″ Premium High Pressure 3-Way Rainfall Combo for The Best of Both Worlds-Enjoy Luxurious Rain Showerhead and 6-Setting Hand Held Shower Separately or Together – Chrome Finish – 3328

  • OUR BEST 3 PICK: Vigorously tested by our professional team of US showerhead experts to highest US quality and performance standards. INDEPENDENTLY TESTED to meet latest US compliance standards unlike most other showerheads sold on . PREMIUM 6-SETTING 7" RAINFALL SHOWER HEAD: Huge 7-inch Face for drenching flow coverage, High-power Click Lever Dial, Rub-Clean Jets (easy cleaning/preventing lime buildup), Angle-Adjustable. All-chrome Finish (including back and face).
  • PREMIUM MATCHING-STYLE HAND SHOWER: Can be used as Overhead or Handheld shower Large 4-inch Face High-power Click Lever Dial Ergonomic Grip Handle Rub-Clean Jets (for easy cleaning and preventing lime buildup) Angle-Adjustable Modern design All-chrome finish (including face)
  • EACH SHOWER HAS 6-SETTINGS: Power Rain, Pulsating Massage, Power Mist, Rain Massage, Rain Mist, Water Saving Pause mode PATENTED 3-WAY WATER DIVERTER: Simply turn switch to direct water flow between two showers. Features Anti-Swivel Position Lock Nut for easy & secure connection ANGLE-ADJUSTABLE OVERHEAD BRACKET: Lets you point each shower where you want it for hands-free operation at desired angle REINFORCED 5 FT. STAINLESS STEEL HOSE: Durable Heavy-duty design with Brass Connection Nuts
  • INCLUDES: 6-setting 7" Rain Shower Head, 6-setting Hand Shower 3-way Water Diverter with built-in Bracket, Shower Hose, Washers, Plumber’s Tape, Installation Manual and . STUNNING GIFT BOX DESIGNED IN USA: Sophisticated, upscale packaging for a perfect gift.
  • EASY TOOL-FREE CONNECTION: No need to call a plumber - installs in minutes with just three hand-tighten connections. Fits any standard shower arm. BEST LIFETIME : Hassle-Free US Limited Lifetime

Companion Massage Walk In Tub 60″ x 30″

  • Acrylic
  • Imported
  • Measures 30” wide x 60” long x 38” high with two 20” seats facing each other
  • Gloss finish easy to clean white acrylic shell reinforced with fiberglass gel coat
  • Low step-in threshold, deck mount grab bar and slip resistant floor to enhance the safety of the bathers
  • Two of 2″ drains with overflows and two independently operated drain openers with easy grip extended handles
  • 15 Air therapy system has a 3-speed air flow push control system and auto-purge that removes residual water from the pipes
  • 18 Jet Hydrotherapy System has an intensity control dial, in-line water heater and ozone sterilization. Delivers therapeutic massage to the lower back, hips, legs and feet
  • In-line water heater helps to maintain the consistent water temperature when hydro jets are in use
  • Ozone sterilization eliminates a wide variety of microbiological bacteria, and prevents mold and mildew build-up
  • Thermostat control valve, blends hot water with cold water to ensure constant, safe bath outlet temperatures, preventing scalding

Delta Faucet H2Okinetic 9-Setting Hand Shower Combo Pack Showerhead Chrome

  • H2Okinetic Shower technology sculpts water into a unique wave pattern, forming a powerful drench spray, gives you the feeling of more water without using more water
  • Soft, rubber Touch-Clean spray holes allow you to easily wipe away calcium and lime build-up from the spray face of your shower head and hand shower with the touch of a finger
  • Installs in minutes. Spray settings include: H2OKinetic spray, Full Body spray, Full Spray with Massage, Massaging spray
  • Pause feature reduces water to a trickle, giving you space for shaving, lathering and other shower tasks while maintaining your temperature settings 2.00 gpm @ 80 psi, 7.6 L/min @ 550 kPa

Freedom 31 in. x 60 in. x 77-1/2 in. Barrier Free Roll-In Shower Kit in White with Right Drain

  • Roll in barrier free shower base for easy wheelchair entry and exit
  • Textured slip resistant grip sure floor
  • Steel and wood reinforced walls, no drywall needed
  • Attach accessories anywhere to fit anyone’s needs-exact placement of accessories for any size person
  • Shower door friendly opening
  • Easy to clean premium marine grade gel coat fiberglass
  • Self-supporting pre-leveled base-no mud set required
  • Right hand side drain position
  • Available in 4 sizes: 48 in. x 36 in., 60 in. x 30 in., 60 in. x 33 in. and 60 in. x 36 in.
  • Included: collapsible white rubber dam with end caps
  • Included: 2 in. chrome shower floor drain with friction seal
  • Included: three 16 in. curved, polished chrome grab bars and one 2-in-1 shower diverter grab bar
  • 30-year limited lifetime warranty (on shower panel

Handheld Shower Head with Hose – 3 Modes High Pressure Shower Heads 4″ Chrome Plated Removable Shower Head with 80″ Stainless Hose Adjustable Bracket Shower On Off Switch for Massage

  • Handheld Shower Head with Hose: 5 SETTINGS(3 Modes) + Pause Switch: Rainfall, Massage, Rainfall Massage Mixed, and Water Saving Pause Mode, enjoying the perfect bath | Angle-Adjustable Holder;High Standard Scratch Resistant Chrome Plated Premium Plastic Material; | Simple Streamline design, giving you a comfortable grip; | Modern Design, creating a stylish space;
  • Water Saving and High Pressure Hand held Showerheads with 215 Nozzles: Powerful and multi-functional water saving shower head kit providing an ultimate shower experience even at low pressure, creates a pressure-increasing stream and delivers water at a higher velocity to compensate for low water pressure situations;The unique increase in water pressure makes the water saving efficiency up to 40%;
  • Hand Held Shower Head Kit With ON/OFF Switch: Unlike other, only constant flow shower heads. Our showerhead has an on-off switch that lets you pause the stream of water for as long as you need to so that you can shampoo your hair for example. This saves water in a significant volume in comparison to other showerheads,and you don't have to wait for the water to reheat.
  • Exclusive Detachable Shower Head: Our shower heads will have flexible rubber nozzles. You can remove the mineral build up on these by rubbing the nozzle with your finger tip. After using it for a while, the middle cover of shower head can be easily disassembled for cleaning, Avoid prolonged use and easy to hide dirt, to guarantee your health;
  • Easy to Installation: Both the shower head and shower hose use Universal G1/2” threads fitting to any standard shower pipe, or water pipe. No plumber and installation tools need, You can easily install by yourself. Installs in minutes with just one hand-tightened connection.

Moen Fold Down Teak Shower Chair

  • - Moen shower seat is made of wood
  • - Fold down shower bench supports up to 400 lbs.
  • - Folding teak shower seat is designed to be easy to install

Nova Walk-In Non-Whirlpool Bathtub Heated Wheelchair Accessible 5 ft. in White with Chrome Trim

  • Nova ergonomic heating system creates a comfortably soothing heated backrest
  • White finish with polished chrome trim
  • Left side drain location
  • Removable front access panels for maintenance

Roll-In 60 in. x 50 in. Single Threshold Shower Base in White

  • Acrylic with fiberglass reinforcement for added durability
  • Single-piece shower pan with polished chrome drain
  • Integrated tile flange for easy installation and waterproofing
  • Non-skid bottom
  • California residents see Prop 65 WARNINGS