Key Differences between Shower Stalls and Walk-In Showers

It can be fairly easy to see the need for a more accessible bathtub. When you considered how high the wall of a tub is, it makes sense that someone with limited mobility might need something that’s easier to step into. But what about a shower stall? These have low entry steps already, so aren’t they accessible enough? In reality, a true walk-in shower has some key differences that make it much more accessible than your average shower stall. Keep reading to learn what these differences are.

Safety Seat

The most prominent difference you’ll notice when comparing these two types of showers side by side is the presence of a safety seat. Walk-in showers need to have an accessible seat that those with limited mobility can easily use while showering, as standing for prolonged periods can be difficult.

Now, you might be thinking, “I’ve seen a lot of showers with built-in benches or portable shower seats I can put in a shower stall. What’s the difference?” Primarily, the difference here is about ease of use. A medical-grade safety seat is mounted at an accessible-height—about 17 inches from the ground—so that it’s easy to get in and out of. Many benches and portable shower seats are lower than this. It’s also more secure, as it doesn’t become slick in the shower like many tile benches can when they’re wet.

Grab Bars

The second feature you’ll notice is the grab bar or safety bar inside the shower stall. It’s unlikely that you’ll find a standard shower with a grab bar mounted inside it unless it’s been added specifically for accessibility. These are a normal part of any walk-in shower, however, as they’re essential for safety and maneuverability when using the shower. They’re also much more secure than the stick-on options you can often find in stores.

Handheld Shower Wand

Your average shower stall will only have an overhead sprayer. But a walk-in one that’s built for accessibility will also have a handheld shower wand. This is typically mounted close to the safety seat so that you can reach it easily without getting up, making washing and rinsing much easier. While you can swap out a standard shower head for one with a handheld attachment, these versions keep the attachments mounted close to the overhead sprayer, which isn’t exactly accessible from a seated position.

These three differences between standard showers and walk-in showers for seniorsmake a world of difference in terms of accessibility and overall safety. So, if you have reduced mobility and you’restill using your old shower stall, consider upgrading to a walk-in version that will be safer and easier for you to use.