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Factors to Consider When Buying Senior-Friendly Walk-In Bathtubs

walk-in tub with a safety handrail

For seniors, reduced mobility is just a part of life. Advancing age can leave you with restricted movement and suspect balance, making even the most routine everyday tasks more difficult than they need to be. Some of the effects of senior living go well beyond the bounds of inconvenience and result in safety concerns, as a fall can lead to long-lasting adverse consequences.

While many areas in the average home can pose hazardous conditions for the mobility impaired, few spaces concentrate as many dangers in one space as the bathroom. Because of slick surfaces, few solid handholds, high steps, and constant moisture, an unimproved bathroom can be hazardous for seniors who experience mobility impairment of even a mild degree.

Fortunately, there are many amendments that can be made to the standard bathroom that can make it a far safer place for seniors. Handrails, textured tile that improves traction, and walk-in bathtubs for seniors can all make a huge difference in the convenience and security of the bathroom space for those who want to age in place in the home.

Walk-in bathtubs for seniors are particularly helpful, but before buying one, you must know what features make them such a wonderful addition to the bathroom. Read on to learn what factors to consider when buying a senior friendly walk-in tub.


Walk-in tubs can vary widely in size, and in many cases, they require configurations that differ from those of standard bathtubs. Therefore, it’s important to get a measurement of your existing tub and try to find a walk-in model that matches your current tub as closely as possible.

Minimal retrofitting can be done to dovetail a walk-in tub into your available space and plumbing configuration, but the less extra work that must be performed, the better. That said, its also important to find a tub large enough to accommodate your needs while allowing your full range of motion.

Man reading newspaper in bathtub


Inward- or Outward-Opening Door

One of the features of a walk-in tub that differentiates it from other styles of bathtubs is the walk-in door. The door simply opens a portion of the tub side for entry, then closes it with a seal to keep water in the tub while it’s in use. That provides a low step-up for seniors with impaired mobility.

The doors come in two formats, namely outward-opening and inward-opening. Inward-opening doors provide a solid seal to keep water in, but they can be somewhat clumsy to navigate around when exiting the tub. Outward-opening doors may not offer as strong a seal as inward-opening doors, but they are easier to get around and can be opened even if the tub isn’t completely empty, unlike inward opening doors. Decide which pros and cons best meet your needs before deciding on a tub.

Step Height

Just because a tub is labeled as a walk-in tub doesn’t mean that you don’t have to think about the step height. Walk-in tubs don’t adhere to a standard step height, which means that some walk-in tubs may require a higher step than others. For the safety of mobility impaired seniors in the home, it’s important to make sure that the step height is safe and comfortable for the individual to navigate without problems. Make sure to find out the step height of the tub before purchasing a unit.

Extra Features

Walk-in tubs, like automobiles, come in a variety of models that offer multiple options to provide an almost endless combination of features. Once you’ve decided on a tub size and style, the next thing to consider is what additional features may be beneficial. For example, if frequent muscular pain is an issue, a walk-in tub with therapeutic jets may be helpful to provide relief. Others may include more amenable convenience features such as quick drains, multiple handrails, or articulated faucets. That makes walk-in tubs highly customizable, though that comes at a higher price point for those who are willing to pay it.

Walk-in tubs for seniors can allow safe aging in place and greater convenience than a standard tub shower combo. To learn more about what factors to consider when selecting a walk-in tub for seniors, contact Safe Step Walk-In Tub Company at (800) 346-6616.

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