Walk-in tubs combine a variety of safety features with therapeutic benefits. There is a reason bathrooms are commonly viewed as one of the most dangerous rooms in a home, and falls top the list. Walk-in tubs help minimize the risk of falls by offering a low threshold for entry and a seat equipped with grab bars to make bathing more comfortable and convenient.
Falls are much less common when using ADA-compliant walk-in tubs. Anti-scald valves, slip-resistant flooring and other safety features all combine to create an at-home bathing experience that is safer and easier for seniors. Some of these options even come with self-cleaning systems, helping seniors who have trouble bending and twisting avoid difficult physical maneuvers during cleaning. Along with all of these practical benefits comes a list of possible health benefits.
Hygiene is an essential part of maintaining good health. Fungal infections, bacterial growth and other disease-causing agents are washed off in the bath. When seniors start having trouble maintaining good hygiene, it can lead to a variety of health problems. Everyday Health released an article that also points to mental health as a benefit of good hygiene. Often, personal hygiene is the first casualty of depression or anxiety. Helping seniors maintain good hygiene with access to appropriate bathing facilities is one way to encourage good mental and physical health.
Arthritis, a disease commonly associated with aging, often comes with stiffening and swollen joints. The Arthritis Foundation recommends using warm and hot water soaks to help relieve stiffness and relax joints. At home, the tub is the first stop for soaking. When stiff joints make it difficult or dangerous to lay down in the basin, a bath may not be an option. Walk-in tubs allow seniors with mobility challenges to still enjoy the benefits of a hot bath and the associated relief from joint pain.
While it has long been acknowledged that a hot soak can improve circulation, a new study indicates it may even be a replacement for exercise for some people. A hot soak for about 20 minutes dilates blood vessels, allowing better blood flow. It can even lower your blood pressure, which needs monitoring in people who soak at high temperatures or for long periods. There is no substitute for a hot soak and its effect on circulation. While it’s too soon to tell if a walk-in tub can replace a thirty-minute cardio session at the gym, the benefits of soaking are well-established.
According to a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology, hot soaks may even lower blood sugar in patients with Type 2 diabetes. While a bath is no substitute for regular exercise, diet control and prescribed medications, it may be helpful as an additional treatment option. Walk-in tubs let seniors fully submerge at home, giving them the therapeutic benefits of a soak, without the need to head to the spa.
Soothing add-ons to a standard walk-in tub might help with relaxation and a release of tension. Chromotherapy uses colored lights to create a serene atmosphere, while aromatherapy can also promote a sense of well-being. Add in a variety of massage functions, and the walk-in tub turns into an oasis of peace and quiet as seniors rest and recharge while also taking time for personal care. Managing stress is one key to reducing high blood pressure, minimizing inflammation and avoiding bouts of depression that result from these conditions, according to an article in Psychology Today.