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Everything You Need to Know About Walk-In Showers for Seniors

Bathrooms and showers are the most essential features of the home that we can’t do without. Similarly, old age also comes with its share of mobility challenges, meaning the bathroom should be safe, convenient, and easy to use. It’s against this backdrop that walk-in showers for seniors exist in the market.

Having a walk-in shower in your home is necessary. These shower models work best if you have senior loved ones at home with health and mobility challenges; consider installing a walk-in shower in your bathroom to make life easier for them. But before you start browsing through the best designs, it’s crucial that you first understand the basics.

So, in this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about walk-in showers for seniors: what they are, what the benefits and types are, and whether they have safety features. We’ll also look at factors that go into installation and costs. Let’s look at each of these factors.

What are walk-in showers?

Traditional showers typically feature doors and shower curtains. On the other hand, walk-in showers do not have these barriers. They are usually open, allowing you to walk in and out easily, hence the term walk-in.

Walk-in shower for seniors: Source: Pexels

Walk-in showers for seniors exist to serve people with mobility challenges. These could be due to old age, accident, or disease.

When using traditional showers, a user has to step over a curb to stand in the shower, while the primary features in walk-ins are walls with water or steam. 

You don’t need to step over anything while using walk-in showers, as they seamlessly have a flat floor and bare opening. The most elegant walk-in showers come with glass walls, which enhance their aesthetic appeal.

What are the benefits of walk-in showers?

Walk-in showers are more popular, especially in households with seniors. This is due to their many advantages over traditional showers. Let’s look at some of the reasons you should consider these shower options. 

1. They are safe

As we have already pointed out, old age comes with various mobility challenges that call for extra care. Conventional showers are usually associated with slips and falls, making them a safety hazard for elderly users. 

Walk-in showers are popular for their advanced safety features, such as non-slip flooring, zero curbs, and grab bars. These features help ensure the user can easily move around the shower and enjoy a relaxed showering experience without worrying about slipping or falling. 

2. They promote independence

Seniors with reduced mobility often need assistance when using the bathroom. This is especially true with traditional showers built for normal users with no health challenges.

 However, these showers can be inconvenient for older people unless they’re specially designed to accommodate their special needs.

With walk-in showers for seniors, your elderly loved ones can rest assuredof their independence. This allows them to shower independently and safely without assistance. Besides, it helps maintain their dignity and improves their quality of life.

3. They have varying styles and designs

Walk-in showers are available in various unique model designs. You can choose from different styles that align with your tastes and bathroom decor theme. 

4. They’re flexible

These unique shower options also come in various sizes that can fit into different bathrooms. Whether your bathroom is average-sized or spacious, you can conveniently purchase a perfectly fitting walk-in shower for your space. 

Features to Look For in Walk-In Showers

Walk-in showers for seniors are built with advanced features that support safety, comfort, and accessibility. Each feature plays a unique role in ensuring a relaxing showering experience. Here’s what to look for in the ideal walk-in shower for seniors.

Walk-in shower ideas: Source: YouTube

1. Grab bars

Grab bars are built-in handrails located within the shower space. In walk-in showers for seniors, these bars are important. Users can grip these sturdy handrails, allowing them to maintain a steady balance while moving around the shower. 

They’re essential in aiding safety, especially in showers with slippery floors or for users with server mobility issues. Grab bars feature different materials, the most common being steel. They also come in different sizes and finishes, making them both functional and beautiful.

2. Non-slip flooring

Cases of bathroom slips and falls have been on the rise, with seniors being the most vulnerable victims. According to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of falling cases reported in the US stands at 36 million per year. All these are attributed to 32,000 fatalities among older adults aged 65 and above.

Therefore, non-slip flooring in walk-in showers can reduce these bathroom mishaps and injuries since it provides maximum traction. They usually feature rubber mats and textured tiles, making them both safe and stylish.

3. Anti-scald shower valves

Almost all walk-in showers for seniors have specialized valves that help maintain a consistent water temperature by controlling the hot and cold water mix. Otherwise, extreme temperature spikes can cause shock or serious burns if not regulated. Most of these valves feature easy-to-read temperature indicators, so users can adjust the warmth level to their liking.

4. Shower seat

Perhaps the most convenient feature of a walk-in shower is the seat, which is a stable platform designed for seniors to sit on and shower comfortably.

Since standing for several minutes can be uncomfortable for older people, the shower seat is a welcome addition to the shower space. The seats can be detachable or built-in benches, and they usually feature stylish designs that fit into any decor theme.

What are the Different Types of Walk-In Showers?

When it comes to walk-in showers, designs and styles vary. They can be made of various materials, including glass, tiled, or wooden walls. Others may feature steam baths and bathtubs that create a spa-like experience. Below are a few examples of different types of walk-in showers.

1. Corner walk-in shower

This particular shower design occupies the bathroom corner, where two walls make up a cubicle while the other side acts as the opening. The opening can be fitted with doors or glass panels. Corner walk-in showers are space-efficient and, therefore, ideal for compact bathroom designs.

2. Tiled walk-in shower

These models use tiles on walls instead of glass cubicles. They have versatile designs that are often customizable. They also come in different textures, patterns, and colors. They are among the most suitable walk-in showers for seniors.

3. Walk-in shower with a bench

Walk-in showers with benches are especially ideal for users who have to sit while showering. The built-in bench is a comfortable seating space made of wood or tile. It makes the showering experience more relaxing and less strenuous.

4. Walk-in shower with multiple heads

Most showers usually have a single head, but this design features the luxury addition of multiple heads. These additions can be wall-mounted jets or overhead rain showers that allow water to cover your body from different directions. This shower design is for users who want to enjoy a spa treatment right inside their homes.

5. Frameless walk-in showers

If you’re a minimalist who loves stylish yet simple design, the frameless walk-in shower can be a great choice. It doesn’t come with those bulky features synonymous with most shower designs, giving your bathroom a cleaner and more spacious appeal.

6. Steam walk-in shower

If you’re a steam bath lover, you’ll love the steam walk-in shower, typically equipped with a steam generator. It has an airtight enclosure that makes the cubicle fill with steam and provides a therapeutic bath experience.

7. Walk-in shower with a tub combo

As the name suggests, this option comes with a shower and bathtub, allowing you to switch from a quick shower to a lazy, slow bath in the tub. While seniors could benefit from this combo, it calls for extra space. It’s also one of the most expensive options, so you should plan adequately before settling for it.

Installing Walk-In Showers for Seniors

Most homes usually have built-in walk-in showers, while others don’t. If you’re considering this shower option in your home, you’ll have to renovate your bathroom and install a new one. Alternatively, you can purchase a new unit and have it fitted into your bathroom space. 

When you’ve settled on a particular style and are ready to have one installed in your home, it’s advisable to work with professionals who are experienced in this particular shower design and who can guarantee zero damage to your existing internal fixtures.

In addition, professional shower installation can take 2-3 days, depending on the design and size of your shower or bathroom. Working with professionals also means they’ll install the appropriate drainage system that guarantees both safety and functionality.

How Much Does a Walk-in Shower Cost?

The cost of a walk-in shower for seniors varies depending on the model design and installation requirements. According to Home Guide, the cost can be anywhere between $3,500 and $15,000.

Installing a new walk-in shower is not included in most health insurance coverages, such as original Medicare.

If you want your new walk-in shower financed through insurance, check with your service provider to determine the coverage options available in your policy.

Furthermore, Alabama, Arkansas, California, Delaware, and Florida are among the 30+ states offering home and community-based service waivers for seniors needing home care.

If you reside in any of these states and qualify for HCBS, you can capitalize on the waivers provided to finance your home modification projects, like walk-in shower installation.

Walk-In Sowers for Seniors: The Bottomline

Thanks to their benefits and features, walk-in showers are a necessary investment for seniors. As such, upgrading your bathroom from the traditional to this unique shower design is wise and necessary for improving your loved one’s home care experience.

The showers ensure comfort, safety, and luxury, promoting their quality of life. It’s the best way to ensure a comfortable and elegant environment for your elderly loved ones, ultimately boosting their lifestyle.


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