Bathing can be hard work and even dangerous for seniors. Clambering in and out of the tub is difficult for mobility-impaired seniors and can lead to slips and falls. For some older adults, even getting into a standard shower cubicle presents some challenges.
A walk-in shower makes bath time safer and more pleasant for seniors. The addition of a seat means that once they’re in the shower, seniors can sit down and not worry about their balance.
Who Can Benefit From a Walk-In Shower With a Seat?
A walk-in shower with a seat is ideal for seniors who have issues with mobility, balance, or fatigue. This might include breathing or heart problems, dizziness, arthritis, or impaired vision.
A walk-in shower is a good choice for seniors who are safe to take a few steps into the shower and out again. They’re a great aid to independence and can even help seniors with aging in place.
Choosing a model with a seat means seniors don’t have to worry about staying on their feet once they’re in the shower. They can sit under the spray and bathe comfortably, then walk out when they’re ready.
What Kinds Of Walk-In Showers Are There?
Walk-in showers are available in a wide range of shapes and styles. Some have glass screens or doors, while some don’t need them. Some have a standard shower faucet, while some have a rainfall shower. You can get them in different finishes, and with accessories such as extra shelves or grab bars.
Some walk-in showers start as a basic model that you then tweak to fit your needs and décor tastes before it’s professionally installed. Others are more custom and are individually designed and built around your bathroom and preferences.
No matter what size your bathroom, there’s a walk-in shower with seat options to suit you. Most manufacturers offer a free no-obligation home assessment to help you make the best choice. Taking advantage of this gives you a personalized quote, as well as a clearer idea of what’s possible for your home.
What Features Should I Look For In My Walk-In Shower?
There are quite a few different features available if you check out the range of walk-in showers available at major retailers such as Kohler, SafeStep and American Standard. Here are some to keep an eye out for:
- Shower storage – it’s amazing the difference a few shelves or a cubby can make. Good shower storage keeps everything you need close at hand, which makes life much easier.
- Seat options – depending on the manufacturer you might find both free-standing and fixed seats on offer. Fixed seats are sturdier, but free-standing might work for seniors who don’t expect to need a seat and only want one there just in case.
- Safety features – a few safety features can make shower time much safer for seniors. Look out for a non-slip surface, scald protection, temperature limiters, and sturdy grab bars.
- Control – some showers feature easy to use controls that are perfect for stiff or painful hands.
- Design – a walk-in shower is a big investment so it’s important to like the look of it too. Find out what options you have regarding size, shape, finish, and doors. Lastly, walk-in showers may be an option if a walk-in tub is too large for your bathroom space.
What Else Should I Look For When Buying A Walk-In Shower With A Seat?
Before making a purchase, find out about the assessment and installation process. Can you have a free in-home assessment to help you choose? How long does installation take, and does it include everything from taking out your existing bath or shower through to fitting and then testing the new one?
Also check out if your shower comes with a warranty, and how long it lasts.
If finances are a concern, ask about financing options to spread the cost. Remember to read the small print before signing up to an agreement, though.
Top Walk-In Showers with A Seat
Here are three popular manufacturers of walk-in showers with a seat that covers a range of features and budgets.
Kohler’s LuxStone range features custom-designed showers made to fit you. In their own words, Kohler’s aim is to help you love your shower again.
Models: Each shower is individually designed based on a range of stylistic and feature choices.
Safety features: ADA-compliant grab bars and moveable free-standing seats are available for any of Kohler’s shower models. The Tresham base includes a fixed seat. You can also choose a barre shelf, based on the traditional ballet bar, that provides an elegant flat look for both storage and stability.
Other features: All models have a low (though not quite flat) entry threshold.
Quotes: Kohler engineers will visit your home free of charge to assess your bathroom and advise you as to which styles and models are the best fit for you.
Installation: Kohler’s team takes care of everything – removing your old bath or shower, preparing the area for work, installation, testing, and cleanup. Depending on which model you’re getting, your new shower can be installed in as little as one day.
Warranty: A limited lifetime warranty that covers defects in both the unit and workmanship, for as long as the original purchaser owns their home.
Cost: Contact Kohler for a personalized assessment and quote.
Anything else: Kohler’s price promise means that you’ll be quoted one single price to include your chosen shower, accessories, and installation – no nasty hidden extras.
Our verdict: Kohler’s LuxStone range has a beautiful look that can be tweaked to fit any bathroom, with enough seat options and safety features to ensure peace of mind at shower time.
Safe Step offers a walk-in shower model that comes with a range of safety features.
Models: SafeStep’s walk-in showers are fully customizable and can be tweaked to suit you. SafeStep also offers a hybrid walk-in bath with a proper rainfall showerhead.
Safety features: This is where SafeStep’s shower really shines. Safety features include an anti-scald shower valve, easy to reach controls, an easy on/off shower wand button, and anti-slip surfaces. They also offer three seating options: A fold-down seat, a fold-down chair with extra padding, and a built-in ADA-compliant seat.
Other features: All models have a low entry step, two corner shower caddies, the choice of a seated or standing shower, and the option to upgrade from the curtain to a sliding glass door with integrated towel bars.
Quotes: SafeStep will visit your home, assess your bathroom, and chat with you about your best options. You receive a no-obligation quote.
Installation: SafeStep engineers take care of everything from removing your old unit to replacing it with your new one and clearing up afterward. Many installations can be done in one day.
Warranty: SafeStep offers a lifetime warranty on the unit itself, parts, and labor, so if something goes wrong, you’re covered.
Cost: Get in touch for a free assessment and personalized quote.
Anything else: SafeStep is designed to fit easily into your existing space with no damage and minimal disruption.
Our verdict: Fantastic range of safety features and we like the choice of different seating options.
American Standard is a little different in that their shower selection covers a range of parts (floors, walls, doors, and faucets.) This is more of a DIY deal than the others on this list and thus might not be suitable for everyone.
Models: American Standard has many models on their site. If you’re looking for models that come with seats, we found three bases with a built-in seat at the time of writing.
Safety features: Some models include a built-in grab bar, and some showerheads have an anti-scald feature.
Other features: There is a range of different features (please note not all features are available with all models) including multi-function and water-efficient shower faucets, and lever controlled faucets.
Quotes: You can check out most prices on the site, or call American Standard or a licensed retailer for more information.
Installation: Installation isn’t included, so unless you are very DIY-savvy we suggest factoring in the cost of paying for a plumber to install them.
Warranty: Five-year limited warranty on most items.
Cost: American Standard displays pricing on its site. As an example, we saw a seated safety shower for $2625. Doors often fall in the $2000 region, walls around $700, and faucets a couple of hundred bucks.
Anything else: Several of their showerheads are ADA-compliant.
Our verdict: Not that many seating options (you can have seated bases, but no fold down or free standing seats), but the range of faucets, walls and doors are decent. No installation means you’ll need a plumber’s help, which could be more complex and time-consuming than getting a custom made and installed option.
A walk-in shower with seat gives seniors all the benefits of a warm shower, while still letting them rest easy while bathing. If you or your loved one is struggling to navigate getting in and out of the tub, a walk-in shower could provide some much-needed relief.