Having easy access to showering or bathing is extremely important. Not just for seniors, but for anyone with mobility issues. Walk-in tubs and showers are extremely helpful to those who have difficulty getting in and out of a standard bathtub. It's really about aging in place and maintaining your independence in your own home.
Walk-in Showers are a great compromise and I always recommend that a home with more than one full bathroom have a walk-in shower. Even for young adults, you're only one bicycle accident away from injuring your knee, hips, or back and discovering just how painful it is to get in and out of a standard tub. The majority of us just shower in the morning before we go to work. We don't have time in our busy schedules to soak in a tub, as attractive as that image is in our daydreams. I can tell you that I've removed a great many garden tubs from homes to replace them with a walk-in shower. It's probably the number one reason for a homeowner to remodel their bathroom to begin with.
Walk-in tubs are a little bit different and are sought after by people looking to alleviate pain or increase circulation with hydrotherapy -- among other reasons. It's not just about the pleasure of soaking in a soothing warm tub of water. Modern walk-in tubs come with circulating heaters to keep the water at a comfortable temperature, multiple massaging jets, fast fill and drain, aromatherapy options, and so much more. For people with diabetes, circulation issues, and muscular or joint pain or other physical challenges, it's indispensable.
When attending home shows where I have a walk-in tub on display, I often get this question: Is it a good idea to get a walk-in tub? And the follow up question is usually: What does this do to my resale value?
Like the questions themselves, the answers have to come from the people asking them. I don't have the answers, but I do have the right questions to get you to the answers you're looking for.
When posed with this question, I always ask if they are planning on selling their home. If you're not going to sell the home and this is where you plan to retire, then a walk-in tub (or a walk-in shower) is an excellent asset to ensure you can safely age in place. This also answers the follow up question of what it will do to the resale value of the home. If you're not going to sell, then the resale value really doesn't matter. Your home is supposed to fit your personal needs. And if it helps you maintain independence and improves your overall health, that's the most valuable thing it can do.
The next question is usually, "But after I'm gone I want my children to inherit my home. Will a walk-in tub make it difficult for them to sell?" Not necessarily. Walk-in tubs are becoming a valuable asset for seniors looking for a retirement home. Afterall, you wanted one, right?
If the walk-in tub or shower is purchased through SIR Home Improvements, that means it has a transferable life-time warranty that the new owner will receive, which actually adds value to the home. There may be some concern if it is the only bathroom in the home. But as a second bathroom on the main floor, it can be a valuable asset for new owners. As the large generation of Baby Boomers are looking to retire, this is something many of them are thinking about having in their next homes. These days, walk-in tubs are more like mini hot tubs, complete with relaxing waterfalls, changing lights, and pivoting tables to set drinks or rest a phone or tablet on while relaxing.
It should be noted that unlike walk-in showers, walk-in tubs can be uninstalled and moved to a new home. Replacing a walk-in tub with a standard tub or shower does not present any remodeling challenges.
The bottom line is, you should make your home comfortable for you to live in. If you don't plan to sell, want to ensure you can easily age in place once you retire, and maintain your independence, then yes it's definitely a good idea to invest in a walk-in tub or a walk-in shower. There are so many models and options to choose from to fit your needs and lifestyle. And the most important point to make, is that having a walk-in tub or shower helps YOU be safe and comfortable in your own home.