The Baby Boomer Generation Affects Accessibility

Heather Smith - Monday, February 06, 2012


The Baby Boomer Generation Affects Accessibility


In 2011, the first baby boomers reached the traditional retirement age of 65.  By 2025, baby boomers will comprise about 25 percent of the total U.S. population. As this demographic ages, decisions concern them about their homes and their choice of lifestyle.

According to a 2003 AARP study, more than three quarters of respondents said it's important to have nonslip floor surfaces and bathroom aids such as grab bars or a bathing stool. But while 80 percent feel that bathroom aids are important, only about one third have them in their homes.

Recognizing a need in the market, bath companies are providing elegant and high-tech options for the elderly and/or disabled.

One of the things that people who are aging often have to sacrifice is that they can no longer enjoy a deep soak.  But the latest accessible bathtubs on the market allow the aging to bathe in a tub that's not only high-tech and safe, but includes elderly specific features to meet their needs.

An accessible bathtub needs more than just a few grab bars. These tubs usually incorporate a soaking tub style, built-in seat and walk-in door. This way, the bather doesn't need to risk losing balance by stepping over the high wall.

The typical walk-in bath has a hinged door that can be latched and unlatched. A new alternative is a rising wall bathtub, in which the entire outer wall of the bathtub raises and lowers easily. The extra-wide door opening allows a person to lift legs in and out of the bath and transition from a wheelchair.

Besides accessibility, bath manufacturers add other features that appeal to aging customers.

A concern that some people forget with walk-in tubs is the need for quick drainage.  We all area aware of the steps to getting a bath.  In order to get out of a walk-in bath, you have to open the door, but before you can do that, the water has to drain.  Think about how long it takes your bathtub at home to drain.  The average is probably somewhere along the line of 5-7 minutes in a typical tub.  That's quite a bit of time to sit in the water, but the quick draining feature eliminates water in under 2 minutes in a normal-sized tub.

To ease aches and pains, many accessible tubs offer jetted features that provide hydrotherapy benefits in everything from air jet systems to an invigorating jetted system to vibroacoustic technology, which is the use of sound to produce mechanical vibrations.

Its crucial for on to investigate the effectiveness of these features for various tubs before investing. Really look into the type of feature you want and research which tubs offer those.

A walk-in tub or rising wall bath can cost as much as $5,000. Some models might easily retrofit into an existing bath space, but hiring a professional to do the work will add cost. 

Those looking for a simple bathing experience might find that a low-threshold shower with a sturdy stool is all they need to get the job done. Otherwise, nonslip floors and grab bars provide some peace of mind for those who need to be extra careful stepping in and out of a bath.




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