Residential spa lifts are an often-overlooked but essential accessibility product
Spa lifts: distributors carry them because businesses that need to be ADA-compliant purchase them. But for home users, there are fewer options, and for home users who need the benefits of a heated spa, those numbers dwindle further.
Carolyn Tyler, an 81-year-old with Parkinson’s disease, back injuries, arthritis, fibromyalgia and heart and lung difficulties, relies on her spa lift to stay independent and mobile. The warm water allows Tyler to do the exercises she needs, but without a lift, she’s unable to enter or exit the spa on her own.
“I really don’t know how I would manage my health if I didn’t have this lift because I wouldn’t be able to exercise, which means I wouldn’t be able to do all the things I need to do on my own, taking care of myself,” Tyler explains.
Adam Fine, president of Accessible Construction, Inc., installed Tyler’s lift and helped her with other accessible products around her home. To Fine, spa lifts are beyond an important part of the business; they’re a necessity.
Without a showroom, Accessible Construction orders lifts as needed and has a working relationship with Aqua Creek Products, a manufacturer of pool and spa accessibility products based in Missoula, Montana.
Where to Buy Spa Lifts
Aqua Creek Products carries two different spa-specific lift lines, the remote-operated Spa Series and the EZ series, which requires other people’s assistance to operate. Within them, there are five different models, allowing home users of different abilities and budgets to have access to their spas. These are in addition to the company’s eight models of pool-specific lifts.
“That gives people an easy way to figure out what’s going to work in what situation,” says Marley Cunningham, director of marketing for Aqua Creek Products.
It’s important to Cunningham that the products are inclusive and adaptive; many of the home users are aging with bad knees, so they’re prime candidates for a pool or spa lift.
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The son of one of the Aqua Creek employees can be seen throughout the website using various products; his wheelchair is rigged for fun family activities, and the company employees have enjoyed seeing him grow up.
“We have a lot of awesome people who work for this company and who understand the gravity of what we do and the family lives that are impacted by the products that leave our shipping bay every single day,” Cunningham says. “We have a few different people who work here, and have been here for years, who have family members with a disability who use our products.”
Over the last year, Cunningham has noticed spa lifts becoming more popular, but many spa retailers and manufacturers have overlooked accessibility products, she says.
These lifts are one of those things that you really take for granted until you need it.”
Marley Cunningham, Aqua Creek Products
“That’s ironic because the people with disabilities who would use a lift are also the people who stand to benefit the most from these spas,” Cunningham says. “Spas are life-giving for people with fibromyalgia and all these other illnesses that impact their daily lives. These lifts are one of those things that you really take for granted until you need it.”
Different products, like walkers for in-water use, platforms, exercise bikes, trampolines or even treadmills are available to help people gain strength and mobility through water-based exercise. On land, Aqua Creek also has a fitness machine wheelchair users can back into and perform strength-building exercises.