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Baron in the bathtub

For the elderly, getting in and out of the bathtub can be difficult - even dangerous.

Not one to be intimidated by precarious situations, I found myself cast in the role of test pilot, sitting in a clear plastic bathtub, at the controls of a German-built, state-of-the-art bath lift.

Caregivers who bathe the elderly put themselves at constant risk for serious back injuries. But those same caregivers know hydrotherapy is one of the best treatments for the aches and pains of age.

How to resolve this conflict? As I kick warm bubbly water with my feet I survey what could be an answer: the Aquatec Fortuna - a simple blue seat that sits flush on the bottom of the tub, secured by suction cups.

I clutch the control, a hand-held device that resembles a TV remote. My pinky squeezes the recline function. In a deliberate slow motion, the chair eases from 80 degrees upright to lean back at 35 degrees. The masterful maneuver is a breeze to control.

I press the up button and like a magic carpet, the seat (with a 265-pound capacity) lifts me slowly but steadily on scissor legs to the rim of the tub, almost half a metre above the tub bottom. Optional "wings" extend to form a bench, making it easy to slide on or off the chair. An optional "lazy Susan" turntable device makes it easy to swing my legs over the tub's edge.

And there's no fear of electrocution. The sturdy Aquatec Fortuna uses a sealed rechargeable battery that doesn't put an electric charge in the water. It also gives a warning so you won't be left stranded at the bottom of the tub with a dead battery.
The seat fits into the smallest apartment bathroom and travels easily. The lift makes life a lot simpler for those for whom the healing and cleansing waters are so near, yet so difficult to get at. And that's the word from the Baron in the bathtub.

Suggested retail cost $1,895. Find more information here.







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