The Danger of Bathtubs - Falling is a Family Matter

By Kerry Knight

Normally, purchasing a Walk-In tub is a family matter, not a personal one.  Why?  Two reasons.  First, more times than not, the actual purchase is made by the children of the senior rather than their parent.  Second, when a senior falls in the bathroom, the incident typically involves their children, because they have to take their injured parent to the emergency room, arrange medical care, surgery or rehab. 

Very seldom do seniors in need of a Walk-In tub come to our showroom alone.  They’re often accompanied by a son or daughter.  There’s one personality trait that seems to surface quite often: too much pride.  Many seniors don’t want to be perceived as being “dependent.”  So often I’ve heard them remark, “I don’t need that yet.  Maybe in a few years.”  Also, they don’t want to be perceived as being elderly.  I’ve also heard them say, “That’s for old people.”

While I can appreciate why an individual doesn’t necessarily want to acknowledge they’re getting older and are therefore less agile on their feet, let me offer some rather sobering statistics:
  • When seniors fall, hospital stays are twice as long then when the elderly enter the hospital for other reasons
  • Annually, falls are reported by one third of people over 65
  • Two thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months
  • Over 9,500 deaths are reported annually for seniors who fall
  • One fourth of seniors will die after complications from hip fractured hip surgery within six months of the fall.

Yes, these are scary statistics, not just for seniors, but also their children.  The constant worry and concern by the children is very real, especially if the parent lives in their own home or apartment by themselves, or with another elderly partner, or lives by themselves in a facility where personal care is not around the clock.

Children want their parents to have a safe place to move around in without the fear of falling.  The Walk-in tub provides that in the bathroom, where most falls occur. And especially when you consider that nearly all the structures in the bathroom have hard, unforgiving surfaces such as tile floors, toilets, sinks, bath ledges – along with glass from of one or several mirrors, it’s a very dangerous environment to lose one’s footing. Compounding  this reality is the very likely possibility of having water spill around the sides of a tub or shower, which also makes one even more prone to slipping and falling. The bathroom can indeed be a dangerous place for the elderly.

However, the Walk-in tub, with its waist-high, easy access entry door, eliminates the most common factor that leads to seniors falling … losing their balance when entering or exiting the tub.  The slip-resistant floor and seat, along with the interior grab bar, also helps keep them from slipping.  The elderly can have a renewed sense of independence, without forfeiting personal control and privacy. Also because the overall design is higher, the likely hood of having water spill over the sides is lessened. 

Other features of the Walk-in tub that provide comfort to the senior and peace of mind to the children are the jetted systems that massage the body and eliminate pain that comes with many medical conditions and just aging in general. Now, instead of being a risk-related activity, taking a long, luxurious, relaxing bath is actually a very safe one.

Customer Testimonial

Recently, a daughter brought her mother to our showroom.  She wanted to purchase the Walk-in tub for her because she was afraid her mother would fall… again.  The daughter quietly admitted to me, “She’s so proud and bull-headed, I don’t know if I can talk her into it.”  Sure enough, they left without purchasing it.  It wasn’t about money.  Her mom had said, “I don’t need this.”  How sad.

There is a Biblical scripture, taken from Proverbs 16:18 that says, “Pride goeth before a fall.”  This may be taking it out of context a bit, but the point really strikes home. 

Seniors, if you don’t want to buy the Walk-in tub for yourself, think about doing it for your kids’ peace of
mind.

In this article I discussed why many Walk-in tub purchases are made by the adult children of elderly parents. I also discussed some of the reasons why bathrooms are particularly dangerous environments for seniors. I listed some sobering statistics about the implications of seniors falling, including increased morbidity rates. And I shared some of the reasons why a senior may themselves be disinterested in a Walk-in tub, even though it would highly benefit them and keep them safer.

Walk-in Tub Guide
If you found this article useful, please share it with your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment section of this blog.  If you’d like to receive a FREE Walk-In Tub Buyers’ Guide, click here.  Have a question? Feel free to contact me at the number or email listed at the end of this article and I’ll personally get back to you. It’s been my pleasure sharing this information with you. Thanks again for visiting with us.

Until next time. 


Alan and Kerry Knight are the owners of Tub King, Inc., and SeniorBathtub.com  in Jacksonville, Florida. Together they have many years of experience in the antique and senior bathtub industries. Their companies not only provide superior products, they are also award winners, receiving the “Best of Jacksonville Chamber Award” three years running. If you’d like to contact them, call (800) 409-3375 or (800) 843-4231; or send an email to Kerry@tubking.com.