Walk-in tubs allow seniors to enjoy the hygienic and therapeutic benefits of a soak without the hassles and risks of traditional bathtubs. If you’re considering purchasing a walk-in tub, there are multiple factors you’ll want to look at as you make your decision. Our partners at ConsumerAffairs researched the best walk-in tub companies in Detroit to help you make an informed purchase.
There’s nothing better than a hot soak after a long day, but if you’re like many seniors, climbing in and out of a traditional bathtub can be uncomfortable at best and painful or dangerous at worse.
According to a report from the National Council on Aging, an older adult is seen in an emergency room for fall-related injuries every 11 seconds. Climbing in and out of traditional tubs is one of the things that make bathrooms a high-risk zone for falls.
Walk-in tubs provide safety and comfort for independent seniors and adults with disabilities in Detroit, especially those with conditions such as arthritis that can lead to reduced mobility and painful joints, muscles and bones.
Around 613,000 seniors live in the Macomb-Oakland-Wayne area, about 85,000 of whom live in Detroit. The number of area seniors is expected to increase through the next decade. With our robust senior population, elderly residents and caregivers across metropolitan Detroit should think about fall prevention. Walk-in tubs can play a significant role in avoiding bathroom injuries.
Walk-in tubs are similar to traditional bathtubs but have a door that opens at ground level. The tubs also have higher water levels and an upright bench so bathers can enjoy a full-body soak without the risk and discomfort of climbing over a bath wall and sitting at ground level.
Walk-in tub models have a range of features and come in many shapes and sizes, ranging from basic soaking tubs to whirlpool-style tubs with massage jets.
There are also bariatric units with wider seating benches, aerotherapy units that help reduce respiratory problems and hydrotherapy units that relieve joint and muscle pain. Finally, there are wheelchair accessible units and combination units that also serve as a shower.
Once you know the type of walk-in tub you need, it’s time to consider the features and design you’d like to have. Features available in Detroit include:
Prevents door from opening, flooding if not latched properly
Step around door when entering and exiting
Easy access in and out of tub
Takes more room, will open if not latched properly
Less time waiting to exit tub
Less time waiting for tub to fill
Warmth while draining and filling
Provides therapeutic benefits and relaxation, but may cool water faster
Heated massage jets
Provides therapeutic benefits and relaxation and prevents water from cooling
Handrails and grips
Provide additional fall protection
Detachable shower head
Makes it easier to clean and saves time
While comparing features, make sure the unit you’re considering comes with a warranty. Most manufacturers offer warranties that range from a one-year warranty to a limited lifetime warranty. You may also need to have your walk-in tub professionally installed to prevent voiding the warranty.
In addition to the features, consider the plumbing, electrical and water volume requirements for each model when purchasing a walk-in tub. Most walk-in tubs are designed to fit into a space meant for a traditional bathtub, but larger units may require a larger area. Most walk-in tub companies in Detroit have representatives who can provide installation recommendations and service.
You’ll likely want to have your walk-in tub professionally installed, and you should include installation cost in your budget. The average price of a whirlpool walk-in tub, including installation, is between $5,000 and $7,000. In general, walk-in tubs in Detroit range from $1,000 to $10,000, with some costing as much as $25,000. The cost of installation is generally between $750 and $1,500.
Because walk-in tubs generally require more water to fill than a traditional bathtub, many people opt to upgrade their water heater when they purchase one, which will also add to the final cost.
While Medicare doesn’t cover walk-in tubs, Medicaid occasionally does, and there are other financing and grant opportunities available for seniors living on a fixed income. Many dealers and manufacturers offer in-house financing, but there are plenty of private financing options available as well.
Walk-in tubs can be written off as a medical deduction if you need one for ongoing health issues or preventative care. Also, the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers a grant that can be used to cover the cost of purchasing and installing a walk-in tub.
Veterans benefits may also cover the cost of a walk-in tub, and some states and nonprofit organizations offer assistance.
Safe Step sells American-made tubs that come with a lifetime warranty. Their tubs are fully customizable and come standard with non-slip flooring, grab bars and a hand-held shower wand. Safe Step donates walk-in tubs through their Safe Steps Cares initiative and offers a free heated seat upgrade. Detroit customers love their friendly sales team.
Kohler is a Wisconsin-based company with more than 140 years of plumbing experience. Kohler Walk-In Bath has an ultra-low step-in and extra-wide door to make bath entry simple. Neck, shoulder and back surfaces are heated for warmth and comfort while hydrotherapy targets the feet, legs and spine. A multi-functional shower head makes it easy to bathe and rinse while seated.
Independent home makes, sells, installs and services walk-in tubs. The units are customizable, can be installed on short notice and come with a lifetime warranty. Independent Home offers free quotes and discounts on their website. Although their tubs may not be the cheapest available, Independent Home provides a quality product and quick installation process that customers love.
Offering a line of more than 60 models costing between $4,500 and $10,000, American Standard brings customers a wide selection of quality walk-in tubs with whirlpool, quick drain and light therapy options. Customers in Detroit love the walk-in tubs’ massage features, saying they make for a relaxing soak, but some people report issues in homes with older water heaters.