Arthritis is a fact of life for many older people. The common condition causes pain in the joints, loss of cartilage and an increasingly limited range of movement. As mobility becomes more challenging, issues with balance and dexterity become more apparent.
This can make basic hygiene tasks difficult as it becomes uncomfortable to bend, sit on low toilet seats or climb in and out of a bathtub. The bathroom is particularly hazardous for arthritis sufferers and should be designed to accommodate their extra needs. Some basic items to make the bathroom a safer place from slips and falls include adding slip-proof bath mats, handrails and long-handled brushes and sponges.
Luckily for seniors, walk-in tubs have been designed to be accessible and safe. Mobility aids, like lower access tubs, reduce the risk of accidents while giving seniors their independence back. Walk-in bathtubs for seniors have several features that make bathing easy:
- A side-opening door that eliminates the need to step into the tub.
- Drop-down panel – some models have a drop-down panel for completely flat access, allowing wheelchair users to transfer to the tub easily.
- Integral anti-slip coating – surfaces made with a built-in coating to prevent falls.
- Temperature-controlled faucets – so the bath water is a pre-set temperature to reduce the risk of burning.
- Safety Locking – the door cannot be opened until all the water has drained away.
- Grab Handles – grab handles can be installed for peace of mind.
Other features for comfort include heated seats, a subdued lighting option for color therapy and an aromatherapy setting incorporating bubble jets. Hydrotherapy is known to ease the symptoms of arthritis and may increase suppleness and reduce the risk of falling.
Aging happens to everyone. For those who want to maintain their independence, various items and alterations can be bought to make living with mobility issues both safer and more comfortable. The bathroom is a good place to start.