Walk-in Tubs – a product that has come of age

In the mid 1960’s the largest age demographic in Canada was teens and young adults. This generation was the result of post WWII prosperity and the large number of people coming home from war who were anxious to start families. 

Members of this group still represent the largest demographic, but now the Baby Boomers are Zoomers and entering their twilight years. That means more attention to health and healthcare products geared to a large and growing elderly population.

Neil Slack and Rob Wardell of Slack of Slack Lumber in the town of York, are getting ready for the flood of senior citizens and the mobility challenged by bringing in a large line of Walk-in Tubs from some of the best manufacturers in North America.

To younger people, simply taking a shower or a bath is not a problem. But to a rapidly growing number of people 60 years and older, or those afflicted with arthritis and other ailments, even this simple task can present a major difficulty.

“It is the largest concentration of the population that has ever been known entering this age bracket,” says Slack.

Walk-in tubs are not a new idea, but they are a product whose time has come. The forward thinking people at Slack Lumber recognize this need and have answered the call with a product line that is flexible to the individual needs of their senior customers and those with debilitating movement restrictions.

“This is certainly a product that is much more than a luxury, but a need for so many,” he says.

Hospitals, retirement villages, as well as people who just want to stay in their own homes or live with their own families as they age are just some of Slack Lumber’s rapidly growing clientele.

Staying at home or with family is becoming not only a cheaper way to grow old gracefully, but there are actually not enough retirement facilities available today to accommodate the “grey-tsunami” as the Boomer generation retires and mobility becomes an issue.

“These tubs are very important for people with arthritic conditions or who can not lift their legs or need some extra circulation through the body,” says Slack. “We have walk-in tubs, we have wheelchair accessible tubs, standard size tubs with walk in doors so they don’t have to lift their legs over the tub. We have shower surrounds and everything needed to either completely renovate your bathroom space or add a walk-in to an existing one.”

Slack Lumber has an extensive line of walk-ins with air jets or water jets to improve circulation and to lightly message the body, as well as accessories like showerheads, grab bars and non-slip products.

“The water or air jets use very similar technology as the popular Jacuzzi but at the same time they make access to it available to pretty well everyone, no matter what physical condition or mobility restriction one might have,” he says.

Earlier products on the market a decade or more back had an Achilles heel in that the seal around the door could become compromised and leak. These problems have been dealt with in all of the product lines Slack Lumber has for their more senior clients.

“Most of our product line have lifetime warranties on the doors,” says Slack. “That is a major concern for most people and that is why they have addressed the problem.”

A Walk-in Tub can fit into the space where any five or six food standard tub is.

They can even install a door system in an existing tub. Their main suppliers are Walk-in Tubs Canada, made in the USA, and a tub company that manufactures and assembles in Alberta Canada.

Although each situation is unique and requires a consultation regarding the needs of the individuals as well as and home inspection of the available space for custom installations, pricing could range anywhere between a standard 5’ tub with a door system in it somewhere around the $2,500 mark all the way to a variety of more specialized tub systems ranging from $5000 to $12,000, depending on the extent of accessories added.

“Professional installation is extra, but available,” he says.

Slack Lumber also carries a wide range of accessories like safety grab bars, safety slip-strips, stair lifts and wheelchair lifts.

“Compared to the cost of being in a retirement home, even if you are lucky enough to find one, finding a way to stay home longer is much more affordable,” he says. “I know of families that have pooled their money to put a walk-in tub into their parent’s homes.”

“When you look at the cost of putting in a new deck on your home, looking after your elders and keeping them comfortably and safely at home longer is well worth the cost,” Neil says.

Neil and Rob are very excited about being there for the elders and mobility challenged and see themselves more as providing a service than a commodity. They invite you to drop by the new Slack Lumber showroom located at 1098 Highway #56, at Empire Corners in the town of York, to see their Walk-in Tub product line and discuss your personal needs and requirements with their knowledgeable and professional staff of experts.

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