What are some helpful tips when using a walk-in bath tub for your elder?

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My husband (85) has Lewy Body Dementia, which has some of the physical characteristics of Parkinsons. The last time he got into the tub the getting in was fine, but getting him out was a whole different kettle of fish! I'm sure a video of that event would be funny, but it didn't seem so laughable at the time. Fortunately we have a 3/4 bath with a shower not in a tub, and that is what he has been using. But he has missed taking baths. Last week we had a walk-in tub installed, and this weekend was our trial runs (with plastic drip clothes still covering the newly grouted tile.) I think it is going to be a hit!

Does anyone else use a walk-in tub? Any tips and advice for newbies?

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My husband who had dementia uses a walk in tub. I had to make a number of adaptations to it before he grew to love it.
We all need to learn from each other and I loved reading the comments on this site.
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Is the Dementia the reason for him not being able to step out easily? Maybe it's a silly question - but do you know about the inability to navigate over surfaces well? I would suggest (if that's the case) putting a brightly colored waterproof mat across the opening of the tub to form a continuous "surface" for him to walk on.
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Having used the tub now for several months I have several tips/observations.
1. I wish we'd installed this about 8 years ago! It is expensive, and the sooner you put it in, the more value you'll get out of that investment. I wish I'd put it in with spend-down money, but I'm glad we have it now.
2. Be super-sure you have everything you need before you get into the tub. You can't just hop out and get it. This is not an issue when I bathe my husband -- I can get anything forgotten for him. But when I take my own bath, if I've forgotten to put on the exhaust fan it is just going to stay off until I get out!
3. We have to time laundry and the dishwasher so they are not competing with a bath for hot water.
4. Pipes are considerably larger than for regular tubs. This makes the hand-held shower wand quite powerful. (Our son loves it!) Be sure the shower curtain is in place before using the shower wand, even just for a quick rinse of shampoo.
5. I dry my husband's upper body while the water is draining, and even put his top on if he feels cool. (Personally, with all the moisture the air jets put into the air I never feel cool in there.)
6. To use the tub you must be able to take a short step to get into it. There are also models for wheelchair users.
7. I find it MUCH easier to help hubby in this tub than I did in the walkin shower.
8. Get several quotes if you are considering a walkin tub. We found a huge variation.
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The walk-in tub (I assume the one you see on TV) didnt' work for my PD mom. She couldn't' seem to lift her feet the 3 inches to get in and out comfortably, The salesman thought that could be rectified by him bringing over a rickety step stool which of course did not work and we ended up getting rid of it. Plus she has long legs and she felt cramped in there. And she's skinny and she felt cramped!!!15K down the drain as far as I was concerned but everyone is different.
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I my dad had a walk-in shower for the longest time but a walk-in tub is so much better because it is a relaxing experience for the person and a lot of tubs have hydrotheraphy jets for bone and joint help. I highly reccommend purchasing a walk-in tub.
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The walk in tub sounds fantastic. My husband has Parkinsons and we have a walk in shower. We have a shower bench with a back and arms on it. We put a small towel under his feet to keep him from slipping and another towel on the seat.. We bought a long handled curved shower brush with that soft material on the end of it. He uses a liquid soap on it and it really suds up. When he gets to his feet he puts the material end of the brush on the shower floor and runs his feet over it and squishes the suds between his toes, etc. You can hook the shower sprayer on the bench to make it more convenient. He can wash and rinse his hair very easily. We have those suctions handles in the shower and out. (Always check the suction before you shower). Hope these tips help someone. They sure helped us. Dane
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I think it would be great, unfortunately we only have a walk in shower (mom has Parkinson's). I have told her in the past, for storms I will put her in the bath tub and if the tornado doesn't get us we will have to call 911 to get her out. Enjoy your new tub!
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