One of the most dangerous rooms in the house for a senior is the bathroom. Soaking in the tub is a great way to relieve muscle and joint aches, but getting up and down from a tub can be a challenge. For seniors in a wheelchair, it can be almost impossible to make it down into a tub and safely back out, unless the tub is specifically designed for the mobility challenged. Walk-in tubs for seniors in wheelchairs offer all the benefits of a long soak with easier entry and exit. Many have built-in seating, so getting in can be a simple slide from one chair to another.
This guide offers a look at some of the best options for walk-in tubs for seniors in wheelchairs. Take a look at the prices, specifications and features of each tub to find one that works for you.
American Standard offers a range of walk-in tubs with a complete array of safety features for seniors in wheelchairs. Doors that open inward and outward, grab bars and nonslip surfaces are just some of the features that make an American Standard walk-in tub a solid choice for mobility challenged seniors. Available add-ons include LED lights and air or combo jet systems. All American Standard tubs come with quick drains, a feature that many other manufacturers charge about $200 to add. With a base price of around $3,400, American Standard is not the most affordable option, but it does offer a substantial array of options, all with low threshold entries and many with partial-seat transfer options.
All American Standard walk-in tubs come with a built-in seat and some have doors that open almost flush, making it easier to slide in and out with no need to stand or walk. Both right- and left-hand doors and drains are available, so seniors can customize the installation based on their bathroom layout and needs.
Ella’s Bubbles produces a line of walk-in tubs specifically for seniors in wheelchairs. All of these tubs have an acrylic shell that’s warm to the touch and soft to sit on. Doors open outward, making entry easy with no lifting required. Grab bars and nonslip surfaces come as standard options, and the transfer tubs designed for seniors in wheelchairs start at around $3,800. Optional add-ons include everything from light systems and jets to aromatherapy, microbubbles and heated seats.
The extensive add-ons can drive up the costs, but can also let a senior create a full spa experience right in their own home. Seniors with aches and pains can opt for the XXXL model and get a larger and deeper tub for soaking, while those who just want a standard soaking experience can opt for the transfer model. Both prioritize accessibility, and the included warranty offers limited lifetime coverage for the door seal and 5-years on other parts, although labor is not included.
AmeriGlide isn’t the most affordable of the walk-in tub options, but it does have some of the most transparent pricing and a line of tubs specifically designed for seniors in wheelchairs. The Sanctuary Wheelchair Access line of walk-in tubs offers a wide doorway that swings out to reveal the entire seat profile. A wider entry makes it easier to slide in or use an assistive device like a Hoyer lift. Two sizes are available in this line. The medium size is partially enclosed, while the large size has front and side enclosures for greater installation options.
Some of the packages include a heated backrest, automatic drain and air or water jets. These add-ons often come at an additional cost, though some retailers may include the extras in the price. The 22-inch high seat is another bonus with this walk-in tub line, since most manufacturers advertise a 17-inch seat height. Both tubs in the Sanctuary line come with a lifetime warranty on the door seals, 10-year coverage for the tub, a 5-year guarantee on the pump and motor and 1 year on the faucets.
The wheelchair-accessible walk-in tub designs by Ariel are some of the most affordable on the market. The starting price is around $2,000 for a standard model, though upgrades and wheelchair-specific designs may add to the cost. For those who can stand, the step into an Ariel tub is 6.5-inches high. The seat is 17-inches high, which allows seniors in wheelchairs to move sideways into the tub. Some models have inward-opening doors that may not be ideal for seniors in wheelchairs. Ariel is one of the few manufacturers to offer a walk-in tub that’s solely a soaking option, helping to keep the price more affordable.
For those interested in upgrades, dual-jet systems start at $920, but no other add-ons are available. Grab bars and nonslip surfaces are already integrated for added safety and ADA-compliant bathing. The 1-year, parts only warranty coverage is fairly minimal, but the lower price gives it a spot on the list for those seeking an affordable bathing solution for seniors in wheelchairs.
When shopping for a walk-in tub for a senior with mobility challenges, a few of the features to look for include an outward opening door and ADA-compliant seating. Generally, seat height should be at least 17 inches from the base of the tub. Grab bars and a nonslip bottom are also important safety features.
Other features that might be helpful can include jet systems to help reduce aches and pains. Seniors with arthritis may find jets particularly helpful in soothing away some of the pain of swollen joints. Deeper tubs and the ability to install a soaking tub in the same space as a standard version are some of the other benefits of this style.
When looking for a walk-in tub, be sure to check both manufacturer’s sites and third-party resellers. Major retailers may offer the same models at more affordable prices and with local installation options. Installation fees are usually not included, so be sure to consider that added cost when creating a budget for a bathroom upgrade. With a list of desired features in hand, compare prices from a variety of sources. Most premium brands offer comparable warranties and similar features, so the price may be the most important distinguishing factor when shopping for a walk-in tub.