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Convert your tub into a walk-in shower

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Converting a bathtub into a walk-in shower has many benefits for the aging senior. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has reported more than 300,000 elderly accidents each year occur in a bathroom, and over 2.5 million seniors need assistance in bathing.

It is difficult to imagine how a bathtub is a safety risk to the elderly as a person usually sits down while bathing. However, most seniors have an extremely difficult time sitting on the floor, or standing up off of the floor without assistance. Adding water, and a slick surface to the equation can lead to severe accidents resulting in broken bones, and more serious injuries. Seniors who have limited mobility in the knees, and hips also have a difficult time balancing, and lifting their leg over the edge of the bathtub.

One of the benefits of converting a tub into a walk-in shower is the amount of increased space. Walk-in showers are more spacious than the average shower giving a person more room to move around, and store bath items. Some walk-in showers feature a small seat with the option to sit, or stand during a shower.

Walk-in showers are also easier to clean. With more room to move around, cleaning a walk-in shower is just as easy as wiping down the walls. Walk-in showers are also safer for seniors, and people with disabilities. The walk-in design eliminates stepping over the edge of a bathtub for easy walk-in and walk-out mobility.

Converting a tub into a walk-in shower is not as difficult as it may seem. The biggest issue is finding the location of your drain. Most bathtubs are designed with a drain, and faucet at the same end of the bathtub whereas a shower drain is in the center of the shower. There are two options: Find a shower with the drain in the same location as the tub, or move the drain.

Sometimes, the easiest option is to design your own walk-in shower, and avoid moving the drain. All you need to get started is a shower base, and tiles. Depending on the size of the shower base, you may have room to install a bench seat. After the shower base is installed, apply tiles to the walls, or install a shower surround. Although designing your own walk-in shower can be difficult, it is often the cheapest solution for a custom shower. Another option is to install a drain in the center of the bathroom, and tile the walls, and floors. This option is best for wheelchair accessibility.

Different Ways to Convert Your Bathtub:

    1. Cut down existing bathtub: Call a professional to cut down the sides of your bathtub. An easy entry, and exit is one of the biggest fall prevention methods.
    2. Remove existing bathtub, and replace: Call a professional to tear out, and install a new walk-in shower.
    3. Design and build your own walk-in shower

(Photo Credit: Safe Step Walk-in Tub Co.)