It has been said that the basic necessities of life are food, clothing and shelter. But how long can you survive without a bath?
According to nih.gov (National Institutes of Health), not bathing can cause a lot of problems for you health wise.
In simpler language than the website uses, bacteria can build up on your skin and cause some pretty nasty skin infections.
Here's how nih.gov words it, "Dermatitis neglecta (DN) results from the accumulation of sebum, sweat, corneocytes, and bacteria in a localized area of skin, forming a compact and adherent crust of dirt." This article also mentions discoloring and blackening of the skin in these infected areas. If this all sounds pretty gross to you, you are not alone.
Psychology Today also published an article about how loneliness is often self-treated by taking long warm baths. Apparently, our brains try to substitute companionship with warmth and soaking in a hot bath surrounds your body in warmth for an extended period of time. This same website in another article also promotes the idea of showering and bathing to help with enhancing your creative self. The idea is that physical movement and self-care is invigorating to your emotional state of mind.
So with these thoughts in mind, it appears that the basic necessities of life should be listed as food, clothing, shelter and bathing. Every human and animal alive should have access to the fundamental need of bathing for good physical and emotional health. But as people grow older, physical steadiness decreases. Fear of falling and breaking a hip or cracking a skull paralyzes many senior citizens from climbing into and out of a bathtub.
Yes, according to a report published in 2011 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 234,094 people were injured in the bathroom in the US in 2008 and this disturbing trend continues to happen every year. Of these 234,094 injury reports, the fracture rate increased markedly, from 5.8 per 100,000 for people aged 25-34 years to 165.6 for people aged 85 years and older.
So, for many senior citizens, taking a bath or shower becomes a frighting chore rather than a relaxing pleasure. This fact leads to many of these individuals to bath less and less frequently. Maybe you have had a parent or other older relative that you were trying to care for and couldn't understand why they weren't bathing as much. No matter how much you tried to encourage them, you just couldn't inspire them to bath regularly. Well, now you know why. Because they are scared of getting hurt.
For this very reason, purchasing a walk-in tub has become an increasingly popular idea. There are several companies out there that make good quality walk-in tubs ranging in prices from $3000 to $5000 all the way up to $15,000 or $20,000 depending on many factors. If you walk into the bathroom department in Home Depot, you will find walk-in tubs for the lower end of that price range. Many of these are made in China and they can be small in size compared to the actual needs of the bather.
For example, many of these only have a 14 inch seat and a similar size door that opens for the person to step into the bath. But for many senior citizens that size is too small for them to be truly comfortable. And if the door is that small, then the person will have to turn sideways to get into the tub. This will increase their chance of losing steadiness while entering and possibly falling in the process. And then when they sit down, the width of the tub and size of the door is so that it’s difficult to fit past the knees to shut the door.
Another thing to consider when purchasing a walk-in tub is features. Some tub manufacturers include lots of bells and whistles with their tubs. For example, air and water jets that turn your bath into a relaxing jacuzzi, aromatherapy, continuous heated water, oxygenated water, colored light displays (chromotherapy), fast drain systems and so on to name a few. These options come with a higher price tag but in many cases are worth it when you consider the reason that you are purchasing a walk-in tub in the first place.
Additionally, some companies offer heated seats and others offer padded seats. Which is more important to you? Would you rather have a heated seat to sit on in your hot bath or would you rather have a soft seat to sit on in your hot bath? Heated seats seem somewhat redundant in a heated bath, but soft seats are likely more important to most seniors today. How often do you remember Aunt Pearl carrying around her seat pillow wherever she went to add comfort for her bony butt.
Many seniors suffer from poor circulation and it can be a challenge to improve circulation when they are getting older and more tired and less active each and every day. This problem can be addressed if your walk-in tub has air and water jets to stimulate circulation. Also, according to livestrong.com, the following comment was made in an article about improving circulation to your legs, "Immersing the lower limbs in hot water will stimulate dilation of the vessels near the skin's surface, which causes blood to flow toward the skin to help regulate the body temperature," thus improving circulation.
If your doctor has ever prescribed hydrotherapy for you, then you might want to consider purchasing a walk-in tub. Hydrotherapy provided by the use of a walk-in tub has been known to treat such conditions as arthritis, rheumatism, gout, acne, colds, depression, headaches, stomach problems, joint, muscle, and nerve problems, sleep disorders, and stress. And when you compare the cost of having to move to an Assisted Living facility to the tune of $50,000 or more per year, the cost of a walk-in tub may make more sense.
Some tubs offer lifetime warranties and others only offer a one year warranty against leakage. Check these features out before purchasing. Installing a walk-in tub can be costly and messy, so make sure that the company that you purchase yours from handles all installation and cleanup afterward. If you buy a tub from Home Depot or Lowes, it might be cheaper but you likely will have to hire someone to install it which can end up adding a few more thousand to the eventual price tag.
So, for many, purchasing a walk-in tub is the right decision to improve physical and emotional health with regular bathin, prevent dangerous falls by safely entering and exiting the tub, and just to make bathing more fun.
Some information provided by Vantage Therapeutic Walk-In Tubs
If you would like to see if a walk-in tub is right for you, send a request for more information to firstname.lastname@example.org.