According to Eric Thompson of Island Bath Works, one of the biggest issues facing his clients is figuring out how to outfit their bathrooms to accommodate aging-in-place desires.

“One of the challenges with this is that most Hawaii homes were built with bathtubs, which are not senior-friendly,” he said. “The high side of a bathtub becomes a safety issue when getting in and out of the tub, and replacing it can be expensive and time-consuming.”

Rather than replace, Thompson suggests fabricating an entryway into the bathtub to serve as a walk-in shower.


“The completed job is as accessible as a shower and is completed in one day,” he said. “It is a popular option for many households who need something practical and safe.”

Thompson also suggests installing stainless-steel grab bars for extra assistance.

“To properly secure a grab bar, it must be fastened into the underlying wall structure with a combination of fasteners and anchors,” he said. “They can be mounted into most shower walls, including tile, cultured marble and fiberglass as well as directly onto inner drywall or redwood walls.”

For placement, Thompson notes that the most common areas are near the entry of the bathtub, along the back wall of the tub area, next to the toilet to help with sitting and standing and outside of the tub area to brace yourself while drying.