Walk-In Bathtubs for Seniors: Advantages, Disadvantages, Alternatives

Bathroom injuries among seniors or the elderly people are one of the most common injuries which can at times be very dangerous. Traditional bathtubs can surely create risky situations for seniors and for people with mobility problems. One of the best ways to get rid of this solution in bathroom can be the walk-in bathtubs. In this current article of ours we will know about the walk-in bathtubs for seniors, about how they actually work, know about the various advantages and disadvantages of walk-in bathtubs for seniors. Moreover we will also talk about how to choose the best walk-in bathtub and know about some alternatives to walk-in bathtubs for seniors and the disabled.

How do walk-in bathtubs work?

Overview on Walk-in Bathtubs:

Walk-in bathtubs are one of the best and easiest solutions for the seniors to keep safe from various bathroom injuries.

Traditional bathtubs can make it difficult for elderly people and also for people with mobility issues to enter and exit from. Replacing a walk-in bathtub can be a great idea! These special walk-in bathtubs actually are the ones that have doors that open and close and make it easy for the senior people and people with mobility problems to safely enter in and come out of the tub and avoid much of bathroom injuries.

How do walk-in bathtubs work?

Usually walk-in bathtubs are equipped with one door that opens and closes on its front or in the side of the bathtub. Presence of this door gives users an ability to safely enter the bathtub without lifting their legs over the threshold (as in case of the traditional bathtubs).

The sealing on the doors of these special walk-in bathtubs helps the water stay in the tub and not flood the floor. There are fast draining facilities included in most of the types of these walk-in bathtubs.

It must be noted that walk-in bathtubs generally require professional installation and the tubs can include varied number of features like adjustable bubble jets, adjustable shower heads, handrails, inside-the-tub seating etc.

Advantages of Walk-in Bathtubs for Seniors:

Following are some of the advantages of walk-in bathtubs for seniors.

  • It makes bathing easier and safer for seniors and disabled.
  • The door present in the walk-in bathtubs make it easier to enter in and come out of the bathtub for seniors, elderly and the disabled people.
  • Apart from the door, these special walk-in bathtubs are also designed to prevent slip and fall injuries in bathroom.
  • There are handrails, seats and the textured pads installed in these bathtubs which help the users keep their head above water
  • There are fast draining facilities included in many walk-in bathtubs. Thus, the user does not have to wait for long in the bathtub or the bathing area.
  • Sliding shower doors may be dangerous for seniors or people with mobility issues. Walk-in bathtubs do not require having a sliding shower door.
  • Built-in grab bars in many walk-in bathtubs add to the safety features.
  • There are anti-slip bathtubs floor and seat in the walk-in bathtubs which make it easier for the seniors to have balance and keep away from injuries while bathing.
  • There are various walk-in bathtubs which are not only safe but also come with the therapeutic power of hydrotherapy that helps in relieving pain and boosts up energy in the seniors who spend time in the walk-in bathtub while bathing. Apart from this, there are various other therapeutic features added in some nice brands of walk-in bathtubs; like the aromatherapy, light therapy, hydro-jet therapy, and soothing air therapy system along with personal hygiene bidet. All these therapeutic features in the walk-in bathtub surely make it a great source for safe and healthy alternative for the seniors.
  • There are some varieties of walk-in bathtubs which come with walk-in shower. So, if you are looking for enjoying the benefits of a soaker walk-in tub without giving up the convenience of a shower then these walk-in shower/tub combo make the ideal choice for you. These walk-in shower/tub combos comes with easy-to reach controls, a shower wand and various other exclusive features that make it a great choice for the seniors for bathing safely and comfortably.
  • There are also various walk-in bathtubs which come with mold resistant gel coat.
  • Apart from all these, installing a walk-in bathtub can add value to your house; especially if you are staying in a retirement community.

Disadvantages of Walk-in Bathtubs for Seniors:

Let us take a look on some disadvantages of walk-in bathtubs.

  • One disadvantage of walk in bathtub is that you must enter the bathtub and then shut the door before turning on the water.
  • You might have difficulties in getting the exact water temperature in walk-in bathtubs.
  • Walk in bathtubs which come with fast draining features and proper water temperature controls are pretty expensive.
  • Most of the websites dealing with walk-in bathtubs lack transparency.

Risk factors involved with walk-in bathtubs:

You might be looking for something for preventing self from hazards because of your growing age or any disability; but what if you know that particular thing may cause more of hazards to you? It is obvious you will have to look and think about it many times before actually purchasing it. Walk-in bathtubs may look of great benefit when it is in your dream; but the reality may be something different at times. Yes! Apart from the above mentioned disadvantages there are also some serious risk factors involved with the walk-in bath tubs. Below are some of the risk factors noted:

  • There are high walls in the walk-in bathtubs, mostly narrow doorways and inward opening doorways in most walk-in bathtubs. These features may be a great concern at times of any medical incident or fall inside the tub. They make it pretty difficult for the family members to open the door and get the person inside the tub, out for emergency medical help.
  • Because of the long waiting period at the tub for filling up and drainage of water; senior people may find it difficult to stay inside with all freezing and wet after the bath.

Buying Walk-in Bathtubs for Seniors: Things to consider while buying walk-in bathtubs!

Most of the walk-in bathtub vendors offer a number of such bathtub models. You must look for some of the features in the walk-in bathtubs while making a purchase on the same. Below we have listed few things to consider while buying a walk-in bathtub.

  • Look for the door designs in the bathtubs, as the shape and size can affect access and also affect the look of your room.
  • You can buy a portable model of walk-in bathtub in case you cannot hire a professional to install the walk-in bathtub.
  • You can expect to pay somewhere around a minimum of $2500 to a maximum of $10, 000 for the walk-on bathtubs. The cost depends on the number of features loaded in the walk-in bathtub.
  • You may also require new water heaters and its installation in case you buy a walk-in bathtub; as these bathtubs are large and require powerful water heaters to have proper water temperature.

Alternatives to a Walk-In Bathtub:

Here we will talk about some alternatives to your walk-in bathtub.

  • Bathtub Transfer Bench: Using a bathtub transfer bench in your walk-in bathtub makes a good alternative for safe bathing in case you take a shower standing inside the bathtub. Here, the bench creates a bridge over the wall of the bathtub that you can scoot yourself across to enter in and come out of the tub. Moreover, it also provides a space to sit while washing your legs or whenever you require rest.
  • Bath chair lift: Bath chair lift is a good consideration in the bathtub if you love soaking in a bathtub. This is a motorized bath chair that can be placed inside your tub and there is a button fixed to it. By pushing the button the seat lowers you down in to the water and raises you back up once you have finished bathing.
  • Slide-in style Bathtub: Slide-in style bathtubs are similar to the classic style walk-in bathtubs and they have high walls, molded seat inside and a door in the sidewall. However, here in this case when the slide-in door is opened, one side of the bath seat is exposed which makes it possible for you to just back up and sit down on the side of the bath seat.


Now, we know about the walk-in bathtubs, about how they work, their cost and also about the number of advantages and along with certain disadvantages of a walk-in bathtub.

With all the features mentioned above, we can tell that though walk-in bathtubs have few disadvantages, with so many advantageous features they actually make a healthy alternative for seniors. If you are living in a retirement community or if you are looking for the safety and health of your elderly parents and want them to present safe bathing experience then a walk-in bathtub would make a good alternative to the traditional bathtub.

You can look for the features you want to have installed in your walk-in bathtub, talk about the cost with your dealer and accordingly set your safe and fine walk-in bathtub.

Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:January 29, 2019

Recent Posts

Related Posts