My Mom is 84 and my Dad is 75. I've been contemplating the fun factor on behalf of my folks. When they were younger, they both enjoyed swimming. Dad is having hip surgery tomorrow so I feel as though his recovery could be helped by pool walking. My Mom is deaf and legally blind so touch and movement are just about all that's left. Plus, she is in a wheelchair and this way she could stand upright and move her limbs. Now that I've made a decision that it would be a positive thing to do, I'm wondering about the practical aspects like how to get each of them in and out of the pool. Can anyone give me any suggestions? For instance, we have a wheelchair ramp to get them out of the house and to the car. I'm wondering what assistive devices there might be available to help my son and I. Thanks!

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Yes, going to a facility is daunting! And I know about those unexpected issues! The wonderful facility we went to had unisex changing rooms, complete with toilet, so a spouse of parent could assist the person. They had group exercise sessions scheduled throughout the day, and a section of the pool reserved for individual therapy. People entered by wheelchair or walking down an inclined ramp. Therapists worked one-on-one with clients who needed that. The pool room was bright and sunny, with a whole wall of windows. People recovering from hip or knee replacements made up a large part of the pool population! If there is anything like this in your area I think it would be a great introduction and trial for how pool use would work for your parents.

Getting Mom into the above-ground pool seems the biggest challenge. A ramp could get the wheelchair to the top, but then what? You can't dump her in. :) Would the pool be large enough to also have a ramp on the inside? I'm having a hard time visualizing this.

I hope you can work something out!
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What we can afford is a $220 Walmart pool that is relatively easy to set up and maintain during the summer. I have a friend who owned one so know that it's deep enough and wide enough for at least 4 adults. Our family is definitely no independently wealthy. I was thinking that I would buy the pool and my parents could purchase an assistive device to help them get into the pool. Of course I'm still at the brainstorming stage.

There's no way I am capable of taking both of my parents with their multiple impairments to a facility that we would have to drive to, use separate men and women facilities for changing and toileting and then getting in and out of a public pool with the possibility of unexpected issues that might come up.

There's a contractor here in town that built my parents' handicapped ramp at a very reasonable rate. The key word is "safety" and he may be able to help me figure out what we need.

That's a good idea about having the pool heated so I will definitely check out how that works.

Thanks, Jeanne, for your thoughtful comments!
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Good for you! If you or your parents can afford this kind of investment, it sound like a potentially high return in the pleasure department, for at least a few months each year. If you Google wheelchair ramps pools you will get some ideas of what is available.

Another factor to consider is water temperature. You'll want to heat the pool to a temperature comfortable for them. I believe the therapuetic pools at the rehabilitation center we've used had water at 92-93 degrees, with air temperature at 86. I've done water exercises for arthritis in both regular pools and heated pools, and believe me, there is a huge difference!

Is there a Rehab center, a hospital, or some other facility that has a therapy pool that your parents could use for a while? This could help you validate how much pleasure they get from it and pick up tips about what makes for a pleasant, practical pool environment. It is not as handy as having it in your backyard, but being indoors such pools are usable year round. Speaking to the therapists at such a place will also give you some ideas for safe and pleasant use of your pool.

Let us know how this all works out!
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