“There is still more
work to do.”
Friends and family of Parkvue Community in Sandusky, Ohio, knowingly attribute this mantra to Mrs. Ruth Frost Parker. While her legacy lives on throughout United Church Homes, a more personal accomplishment remained…the fulfillment of her dream of an aquatic center to enrich the lives of Parkvue residents.
A Dream 20 Years in the Making
Ken Keller, administrator of Parkvue Community, first learned of Mrs. Parker’s vision in 1995. She would frequently mention her desire to have a pool on the Parkvue campus; but the size of the community wasn’t quite large enough to support the expense of an aquatic facility and program.
By February 2014, Mrs. Parker decided to turn her long-held dream into reality. She approached United Church Homes with a way to accomplish her goal. UCH worked with an architect, designer, and contractor to create the plan for this signature amenity for Parkvue. Mrs. Parker beamed with joy as she approved the concepts.
“With her love for water, it was not a surprise to me when she mentioned she wanted to do a ‘little pool’ for Parkvue,” said Libby Russell, a longtime personal friend and associate of Mrs. Parker.
Her dream for this “little pool” turned into a 7,200-square-foot aquatic center that includes a saltwater pool, hydrotherapy spa, lounge, exterior deck, and changing rooms that officially opened for swimmers on Monday, April 4, 2016.
“Ruth was a visionary and a doer. She would accomplish things. She wasn’t one to seek attention, but she would seek results,” said Ken Keller.
Designed by the Community for the Community
“Part of UCH’s priority operating plan is growth. I believe the aquatic center is a valuable amenity for Parkvue residents to engage in wellness activities, create growth within the community, and give us a unique marketing advantage,” Ken Keller said.
The Parkvue team intentionally engaged many associates in the planning and design of the aquatic center, including nursing, maintenance, therapy, and activity staff.
The main pool features a maximum depth of 3 feet, 8 inches and temperatures around 93 degrees. Safety features include underwater comfort benches, anchored handrails, and a lift to help swimmers with limited mobility to enter and exit the pool. The pool includes three lap lanes and is large enough for water yoga classes and therapy sessions.
A hydrotherapy spa, equipped with comfort benches and handrail, offers water temperatures around 104 degrees and is large enough for exercise or therapy.
Perhaps the most unique feature, however, is the use of salt water, which significantly lessens irritation to skin and hair, and reduces smells and irritants common with chlorine pools. What’s more, salt water is therapeutically more beneficial to the senior population.
“The pool and hydrotherapy spa can be used for recreation, social, and therapy use. The facility was designed to allow all residents to enjoy the benefits of the water. Aquatic therapy can be used to treat a variety of conditions and often allows earlier therapeutic intervention due to the reduction of pain and weight bearing stress,” said Andrea Hamilton, director of rehabilitation at Parkvue Community.
Other safety features include porous, slip resistant rubber flooring, security cameras, and key cards for entry. Every time a resident enters the aquatic center, the nursing station is alerted to ensure resident security.
As United Church Homes enters its second century of service, the aquatic center is another way to fulfill the vision of creating Abundant Life in Community with a resource that enables residents of all abilities to live a life full of activity and companionship with others.
“The aquatic center is a perfect example of the UCH mission. The aquatic center transforms aging, encourages wellness, emphasizes wholeness of body and spirit, and enables community, wellness, and peace,” Ken Keller said.
“It’s really about wellness and fun. It’s a place to enjoy ourselves and life in the community. We’re really excited about this addition to Parkvue. People can use the center for therapy, recreation, and enjoyment. It will enhance life at Parkvue and be used many days throughout the year,” said Rev. Kenneth Daniel, president and CEO of United Church Homes.
This aquatic center, a fulfillment of Ruth Parker’s dream, will assure an experience of wellness and joy for years to come at Parkvue.