In 1983, Gallup polled 1,500 men and women over the age of 55. None of these individuals lived in nursing homes or assisted living facilities. Consistently, using the shower or tub was mentioned as one of the main concerns in these senior’s quest to maintain the activities of daily living without assistance.
In the last 26 years, improvements in tub designs have made a significant contribution to easing this concern. Now, instead of having to step over a tub lip that 20-inches high, seniors can open a door and step into a walk in tub, sit down on a comfortable seat, and enjoy a safe and relaxing bath.
The fact is that the bathroom is the more dangerous than any other room in the home. Almost 100 seniors fall in the bathroom every day. Far too many of those falls destroy quality of life for the balance of the senior’s life. For example, hip fractures, even in this day of hip replacement surgery, are a cause of premature death in seniors. Scalding injuries from having the hot water set above 120°F result in burn related deaths.
It’s relatively easy to turn down the heat setting on the hot water tank. And installing handrails around tub, shower and toilet cost very little. Replacing a standard tub or shower with a walk in tub is far more costly. What makes it worth the investment?
First, every time you prevent an injury, you protect your financial stability. All it takes is one accident and everything you have saved could be gone. In today’s economy, it’s risky to trust that your long-term care coverage is going to be adequate. If you end up in the ICU, you may find yourself facing over $30,000 in uncovered medical expenses—all preventable by investing in a walk-in tub.
Second, as you age, medical hydrotherapy is extremely useful for managing the long-term low level inflammation and pain associated with arthritis and other age related symptoms. Many walk-in tub models offer hydrotherapy models which deliver gentle therapeutic treatments that take the edge off of pain.
There really is no more important investment if your goal is to age in your current home. It is far more cost effective to remain in your home for as long as possible. Make some changes in your bathroom before you have an accident. You won’t be sorry that you didn’t take any chances.