Summer is here! It’s time for fun in the sun, and as the weather gets hotter, what’s cooler than time in or near the water?
Beach and Pool accessibility is important. Indeed, whether for recreation or therapeutic value, water is a great equalizer for many with mobility impairments. After all, due to buoyancy, we not only weigh dramatically less in water, but because water encapsulates the body evenly, it eliminates such issues as pressure points for those who may use wheelchairs or are frequently seated.
And, therapeutic value aside, simply cooling off in or near the water is a great way to spend a summer day.
However, for those with mobility impairments, both getting to the water and in the water can be a challenge. So, let’s look at some of the water-related mobility technologies available to help beach and pool accessibility.
For those with mobility impairments, merely getting to the water can seem impossible, namely when it comes to beaches. The fact is, few wheelchairs or scooters can tackle sand of any sort. Fortunately, there are specifically-designed beach chairs. Featuring over-sized, low-pressure balloon tires, non-corroding frames, and mesh upholstery, beach chairs are made to easily roll over the sand and even into the surf. Made for fun in the sun, beach chairs commonly feature umbrellas and storage for your sundries. Among the best aspects of beach chairs is that they’re designed to be immersed, so you can literally roll into the ocean, lake, or river and either transfer for swimming or remain in the chair to cool off. For transport, beach chairs collapse into pieces, fitting into most vehicles. (And, here’s a little tip: due to the big balloon tires, beach chairs work equally well on soil and even snow, so they’re versatile in multiple terrains.)
Pool Access Chairs
The Americans with Disabilities Act requires most public pools to be accessible. More and more newly-constructed public pools feature interior access wheelchair ramps – you literally roll your chair into the pool. Of course, you don’t want to roll your everyday mobility device into a pool! Instead, you need a pool access chair. Pool access chairs are made to be submerged and withstand the pool environment. Unlike beach chairs, pool access chairs have more-traditional wheels and overall manual wheelchair features. Again, pool access chairs allow you to roll into the pool and either transfer for recreation or therapy, or simply cool off. Among the benefits of pool access chairs is that they’re quite affordable, so if you have a ramped local pool, they’re a practical investment.
Pool and Spa Lifts
For those with a pool or spa, a lift is the safest, easiest way to enter and exit for those with mobility impairments. The lift typically bolts to the pool surround, and has a seat on an arm that pivots and lowers into the pool or spa. Lifts are phenomenally popular in residential use, and come in a range of styles, technologies, and price points.
At the lower end of price points are manually-operated lifts, with sling or simple seating. As the products increase in features, lifts are powered, with more involved seating. With such a wide range of pool and spa lifts available, there’s bound to be one for any individual’s budget and needs.
The Rime of the Ancient Mariner says, “Water, water everywhere….” Indeed, there is – from oceans to lakes, rivers, pools and spas. With so many beach and pool accessibility options to get you both to – and in the water! – there’s no reason not to have the best summer yet!