By Dan Martin
Most people have never seen, let alone experienced, a walk-in tub.
To make an informed buying decision, there are things to consider.
First, what are the benefits of walk-in tubs?
They are particularly suited for those aging in place (at home) and people with mobility challenges. Walk-in tubs also help caregivers to transfer and bathe patients.
Some tubs offer therapeutic hydrotherapy, which is often prescribed by doctors to provide relief from fibromyalgia, poor blood circulation and arthritis, as well as sore muscles and joints. The built-in jets will soothe sore muscles, alleviate fatigue, reduce stress, and can be part of a rehabilitation program.
Different tubs offer different levels of accessibility. The original walk-in tub has a small door that swings in. These come in a variety of qualities and are appropriate for fully mobile individuals.
Then there are “out-swing tubs” These are truly accessible tubs that safely accommodate persons of varying mobility levels.
Good quality tubs use quality materials that will last for years. Cheap versions are made of poor-quality materials that will inevitably fail, costing the buyer time, money and frustration. The frame of a tub can be made of wood, steel or aluminum. Aluminum seems superior because wood can potentially rot while steel expands and contracts in the opposite direction as the fiberglass, thus stressing the tub and causing unwanted problems.
The door, seal and valve are also crucial components to the quality of any tub. Cheaper tubs use small valves that make filling up the tub a long, arduous process. Larger valves allow tubs to fill quickly and not waste time. One might wonder while inspecting or sitting in a tub: “How does this thing not leak?” The answer is the design and quality of the door and seal.
The process of buying a tub is most important of all. There are generally two scenarios. There are companies that typically will get their tubs overseas, use a distributor to ship them, have another independent person marketing the tubs and another installing them, for instance. All these disjointed components make for a disorganized process with little to no customer service. Worst of all, there is no one company to call when something goes wrong.
The second scenario is a real business that can assess your needs properly and make sure the tub will fit in your bathroom. These companies order the tub, deliver it, install it, place it under warrantee and service it over the years if needed. These second types of businesses are generally local and involved in the community while the first types are not.
Walk-in tubs are a wonderful way to improve quality of living for yourself and loved ones. Their safety and luxuriousness will keep older adults independent, healthy and joyfully living an improved life.
Dan Martin is the owner of Total Access New England, serving New England from his local base in Westborough. He is also a certified aging in place specialist (CAPS) and can be reached during business hours by phone at 508-329-1031, anytime by email at email@example.com. Visit his websites: elegantbathroomsbydan.com or totalaccessne.com. Archives of articles from previous issues can be read at www.fiftyplusadvocate.com .