Feature Article - May 2014
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Water, for Profits

Aquatic Design Meets Community & Budgetary Needs

By Rick Dandes

Keeping Up With Seniors

Clubs have realized they have to offer not just swimming lessons and lap swimming. As our population ages, the largest group of our population is the baby boomers, and they are rapidly moving into retirement age. In water, there is less stress, less impact on the bodies of boomers who still want to remain active. Think outside the box. The senior population has expendable income so when you design your facility, make sure there is a coffee shop nearby. Seniors will stay all day and the aquatic center can become a social hub in their lives.

"I think we are going to see modernization of the senior citizens homes," Kempfer predicted. "Those old ways of thinking and recreating are going away. Seniors are demanding a good quality of life that includes leisure pools for families, when their grandkids come to see them. How many grandparents are watching their grandkids these days while the parents work? I think we're going to see many design changes in response to the needs of that maturing population. All this in contrast to the action-pool areas: safe and friendly municipal pools with plentiful shade areas invite residents to partake in zero-beach entry pools, waterslides and lazy rivers with island-style comfort and hospitality on a daily basis."

Kempfer also has noticed business relationships lately "where you have a hospital or a wellness facility partnering with a YMCA that is partnering with a city, because they are all very capable entities." Taken alone, not all of them have the money to sink into a major pool recreation facility. Nor do they have the full market share. Pools, after all, are an expensive line item on a budget. But a partnership can help build facilities that truly do cater to an entire population because they all have their own goals and agendas.