Aging In Place

6/1/2021 | By Seniors Guide Staff

When it comes to aging in place, there are many adjustments – both small and large – to help make it possible longer. One great addition to a seniors’ home is a bath fitter. So, what are the benefits of a bath fitter for seniors?

Homeowners spend between $6,000 and $15,000 to update a small or medium-sized bathroom, while larger bathrooms or a master bath could cost closer to $25,000. For many older adults nearing or already in retirement, taking on that type of major renovation is both cost-prohibitive and highly disruptive. After all, even a small bathroom remodel can take over a month, with many taking nine weeks or more.

Because of the expense and time associated with a traditional bathroom upgrade, many seniors take a different approach. Available under various names – Bath Fitter, Bath Planet, BathWraps, and Re-Bath, to name a few – these companies offer a quicker and less expensive alternative to a complete remodeling project.

For the sake of simplicity, we will refer to all of these companies as bath fitters.

What is a bath fitter?

A bath fitter typically installs acrylic tubs, shower bases, and walls over an existing tub and wall. This method can save the time and money of removing the current tub and shower before replacing them. Each custom-made liner is guaranteed to have a watertight fit.

However, many homeowners are looking to convert their tubs to a walk-in shower, meaning they will need to remove the existing tub first, creating extra labor costs. Either way, you can achieve the transformation in as little as a day and at a fraction of the cost of a complete bathroom renovation.

Check Out Bath Fitters in Cincinnati and Dayton!

What material is best for the liner?

Most home improvement professionals agree that non-porous acrylic is the best material to use since it tends to keep away mold and mildew more effectively. Acrylic has a reputation for strength and durability, and it usually comes with a lifetime warranty.

Alternatives to acrylic include:

  • PVC vinyl: less expensive but not as durable
  • Tile: porous grout lines can allow moisture build-up
  • Fiberglass: stains easily and can chip or crack over time

How much does a bath fitter cost, and how long does it take to install?

As with any home improvement project, the cost of the project depends on the work involved. If you cover your existing tub with a liner, you will pay around $3,000 on average, and the entire job will likely take one day. But it isn’t quite that straightforward.

Adding accessories, installing an entire bathtub enclosure, converting from a tub to a shower (or vice versa) will add to the cost (perhaps as much as $6,000) and could turn it into a multi-day project.

What are the benefits of a bath fitter for seniors?

The bathroom is universally cited as the most dangerous room in the house for older adults. According to the National Institute on Aging, 80 percent of all senior falls happen in the bathroom. Wet and slippery surfaces result in numerous slips and falls. Unsecured bathmats and poor lighting are also contributors. Keep in mind that any change that makes the bathroom safer for seniors also makes it safer for everyone else.

The edge of a bathtub can be challenging for seniors with reduced mobility to navigate. So, while it is not the least expensive solution, converting from an existing tub to a walk-in shower can offer seniors a more effortless and safer entry and exit. These easy-access showers either have a narrow edge or no edge at all, making them ideal for rolling a wheelchair into them.

The benefits of a bath fitter for seniors are numerous; a bath fitter can improve safety and accessibility by adding a non-slip floor coating. They can add wall-mounted seating that includes a safety belt, armrests, and footrest. Grab bars and safety handles are other options for seniors who have balance issues. And installing shelves at a convenient height will reduce the chance of a fall when reaching for soap or shampoo.

Discuss these suggestions with a potential bath fitter contractor. Only a few of them could help turn the most dangerous room in the house into the safest!

Seniors Guide Staff

Seniors Guide has been addressing traditional topics and upcoming trends in the senior living industry since 1999. We strive to educate seniors and their loved ones in an approachable manner, and aim to provide them with the right information to make the best decisions possible.

Seniors Guide Staff