As you age, the pain of arthritis can make the simplest things seem more difficult. For instance, climbing in and out of the bathtub. In your younger years you could step confidently over the edge of the tub, but now it gets harder, and there is a greater chance you will suffer a fall, or at the very least pull a muscle or two.
This is where a walk-in tub can change your life for the better. There is a low-step entry that allows you to walk in and the floors are made of non-skid materials so you won’t have to use a bath mat. If standing is hard for you, a shower seat can be attached to the side wall.
Tubs are deep enough to fully submerge your body, and you can add some bubble bath to the warm water and have a long soak. Your tired aching muscles will thank you. Once you’re finished, grab the safety bars to pull yourself into an upright position.
If taking a tub bath is not your thing, there is usually a faucet head that allows you to take a shower. If you’re lucky, a bidet will be included with the tub so you can clean those hard-to-reach places.
All of this comfort comes with a steep price and you’ll pay an average of $5,000 to $7000 including the tub. Don’t count on Medicare or Medi-Cal to pick up the tab, but do check with your private insurance to see if this is a covered expense. Ask your doctor to write a note that the walk-in tub is a medical necessity.
A walk-in tub will make your life a lot easier, but insurance providers don’t want to provide coverage because it is not something that’s essential, and other members of your family may also use the tub.
If your private insurer won’t pony up the funds, there are some other options you can try. The United States Department of Agriculture may have grants or low-interest loans available. You’ll have to meet income requirements, but if you don’t qualify, they can refer you to other resources.
A good organization to have in your corner is the National Home Modification Action Coalition Inc. They can help you find grants and loans, and there may be other modifications available.
Check with the AARP to see what grants and loans you might qualify for. If you’re a Veteran, check with the Veteran’s Administration.