As we age, we all start to see our ability to live independently challenged…and when it’s our own loved ones who are experiencing those challenges, naturally, we want to help. No one wants to place their own parents in an assisted living facility, but neither do we want for them to live in an environment where their personal safety is at risk. The challenge is that often the home they have lived in & have grown to love, simply doesn’t meet their needs anymore…just isn’t safe anymore. When that is the case, there is a very difficult decision that must be made. To either help them to transition to a new living environment, or to make the necessary modifications to their current home to make it safe and comfortable for them, given their new mobility challenges.
Whether that decision is one that you are making for yourself or a person who you love, it is vitally important to keep in mind that the person who is in need has likely lost many things in recent years. They may have lost friends, family members or even a spouse; they may have lost their health and their quality of life; they may have lost the physical ability to do many things, but what they truly don’t want to lose, after all of that, is their independence. For some people, it may even seem like this is all they have left. The familiarity of their surroundings, the cherished memories that those walls contain, the old neighborhood friends that they wave to each morning, the ability to work or spend time in their own yard, each part of this place is a part of them…a part of their very identity.
So how do you balance safety and independence? How do you keep a loved one in their own home as long as possible, without jeopardizing their personal safety? The answer is that you maximize safety in the most dangerous areas of the home, the first of which is the bathroom, where hard, slick surfaces cause nearly 66% of senior fall related injuries. With the vast majority of those fall related injuries occurring while getting into or out of a bathtub or shower, it is no wonder that walk in tubs have become so popular.
For someone with mobility challenges, even a 6 inch shower dam or a tub that is 12 inches tall can be really dangerous for them to step into. And when a person struggles to get in & out safely, no number of grab bars can prevent a fall that statistically, at some point, will occur. That’s why so many seniors skip the joy of a daily bath or shower. They fear, each time, that a misstep on that wet surface will result in a life-changing injury…chronic pain…paralysis…loss of independence… having to move out…or simply not surviving the fall at all. And they don’t want to give up their privacy by asking for help from a caregiver or family member, until they have no other choice. All of this because they don’t yet know the joy of a walk in tub. They don’t yet know the safety of high side walls that can keep them in the tub, should they ever lose their balance. They don’t yet know the assurance of multiple grab bars, low step ins, high seats and slip-resistant floors. The may not even know that some walk in tubs are even available for people who are unable to walk or even to bear weight on their lower extremities. They may not know that many walk in tubs are available with air or water jetting systems, that are designed to increase circulation, diminish pain & reduce swelling. Or perhaps they’re concerned about the investment.
What so many people fail to realize is that nearly 80% of what you invest in a bathroom remodel comes back in increased value of your home. That leaves about 20% as the true cost of ownership. Subtract from that any tax write-offs that they may be eligible for, since jetted walk in tubs are classified as durable medical equipment, and the net cost truly becomes negligible. Of course, comparing the average recurring monthly cost of residential care (depending on where you live, averaging $3000-$12000 per month) to the one-time investment in a walk in tub reveals that having a walk in tub that allows them to stay in their home just a few months longer, will save you thousands. After the first few months, walk in tubs can save you, literally, tens of thousands of dollars per year.
Overall, the benefits to be gained from owning a walk in tub far outweigh the investment and the inconvenience of a 1-2 day installation. Knowing that your loved one will be able to live in their own home for years to come and having the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your loved one has a bathroom that is infinitely safer than before the remodel is fantastic too. But the biggest benefit is the instant improvement in the quality of life of the person that you love. Yes this will be an investment, but the investment in your walk in tub , is one that is just plain worth it. Just ask any of our family of satisfied clients & they’ll tell you that installing their walk in tub was the best decision they ever made!