The global pandemic has forced most of us to stay home to curb the spread of the novel disease. Seniors are particularly high-risk, especially those with underlying medical conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory disease. With this in mind, regularly going to medical centers for hydrotherapy is less than ideal.
If you have seniors in your household, you can help them get hydrotherapy treatment in the comfort of your home. Not only will you help them stay away from the risks of contracting COVID-19, but you’ll also spend less on hydrotherapy conducted elsewhere.
To ensure industry-standard safety, you can start by hiring a professional general contractor to remodel your bathroom into a senior-friendly hydrotherapy haven. But having your own walk-in hydrotherapy tub for the elderly at home also means you need to know how it all works for their health and safety. Here are the essentials before you buy a tub.
Benefits of Therapeutic Baths
Soaking in a warm, pleasant bath is often marketed as a spa service. But beyond the luxurious tranquility of relaxing in a hydrotherapy tub, researchers are finding several therapeutic advantages, such as:
- Improved circulation and reduction of inflammation
Numerous studies revealed that raising body temperature through hot baths improves the body’s ability to respond to inflammation. According to a study from the Journal of Applied Physiology, sitting for an hour in a hot immersion bath at 102 °F could actually fight against low-grade inflammation, especially in people with limited exercise capacity.
Furthermore, hot baths allow blood vessels to relax by elevating nitric oxide levels in the blood. When blood vessels are in a relaxed state, this promotes better blood circulation and improves overall vascular function.
- Blood sugar control
At Loughborough University in the UK, scientists examined blood sugar levels of individuals after an hour of soaking in a hot bath. Results showed that postprandial peak blood sugar was lower in individuals who’ve had a hot bath than those who exercised instead. Bathing in a warm hydrotherapy tub can also burn calories as effectively as taking a 30-minute walk.
- Pain relief for aching joints and muscles
A good soak in an appropriately-heated hydrotherapy tub, sauna, or hot spring can help seniors manage pain caused by osteoarthritis. Because passive heat aids in reducing inflammation and improves circulation, which serves as a natural way for the body to heal stiff and painful muscles and joints.
Preparing a Bathroom Fit for the Elderly
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), bathrooms remain the most accident-prone area in a house. Each year in the United States, more than 30 million adults aged 65 and above suffer a fall in or around the tub or shower, causing fatal and non-fatal injuries.
If you’re planning to move hydrotherapy for your seniors at home, you need to be extra attentive about providing safeguards for the elderly in the bathroom. Based on the fall prevention guides, you need to let your contractor incorporate these bathroom safety tips for seniors:
- Install grab bars with highly-visible colors in areas that require seniors to sit or stand, especially by the toilet and bathtub
- Strategically place lighting fixtures to ensure bright light in all areas so that seniors can see their surroundings well and avoid blind spots
- Use non-slip materials for flooring, especially on the shower floor
- Add cabinets to store towels and reduce trip hazards that are otherwise strewn across the floor
- Secure rugs and other movable objects with adhesives
Keep in mind that even when your bathroom has been renovated to accommodate the safety needs of the elderly, older adults still need care and supervision throughout their hydrotherapy session, especially when bathing.
Choosing the Right Hydrotherapy Tub for Elderly Loved Ones
Now that you know how hydrotherapy works and what to do to prepare your bathroom, it’s time to select a hydrotherapy tub that can fit your seniors’ needs at home. Hydrotherapy tubs come in various forms and types, and the most popular ones include:
- Air tubs, which release tiny bubbles that form a fizz to stimulate touch receptors and release tension
- Whirlpool tubs, which contain air jets that move water with increasing pressure to instantly soothe muscles via deep tissue water massage ;
- Total massage tubs, which combines the technology used in air and whirlpool baths and create a blend of relaxing bubbles and curative pressurized water
These well-known types of hydrotherapy tubs can also be paired with aromatherapy oils for an enhanced experience. They also typically include a built-in tub cleaning system for easier cleanup.
Before you buy, make sure to carefully choose a hydrotherapy tub that better meets the medical and relaxation needs of your elderly loved ones, so they can truly enjoy the experience. For added safety, you should also consider the following factors:
- The texture of the tub, which should have non-slip qualities to prevent falls and injuries
- The size of the tub, which should be spacious enough so that the user can fully immerse themselves when they take a bath
- Depth of the hydrotherapy tub, which should be ideally between 18 and 28 inches for comfortable use
Having a hydrotherapy tub at home can help your elderly loved ones take a relaxing bath that can heal their physical aches and take away some stress amidst the pandemic. Don’t forget to assign a family member to assist, or opt for in-home caregivers so that your older loved ones can enjoy a relaxing and therapeutic bath safely.