While having a handicap accessible pool is not important in some circumstances, there are other situations where it is essential. For example, public pools and pools at hotels are required by law to have measures in place that make the pool accessible to those with a disability.
Private pools at people’s homes are not covered by the same regulations. However, this does not mean that you should not consider accessibility when having your pool installed. If you have an elderly parent with mobility issues or a member of your family uses a wheelchair, then it makes sense to ensure that everyone is able to access the pool. Similarly, if you sell your home in the future, an accessible pool will appeal to a wider market.
There are several ways that you can make your pool accessible. The companies that manufacture devices for pool accessibility are required to meet the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act Accessible Guidelines (ADAAG). When you are choosing devices to improve the accessibility of your pool, it is important the devices meet the standards outlined in these guidelines.
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If you have a sloped entry or steps into the pool, then you will also need handrails. These will help people who are unsteady on their feet or have other mobility difficulties. They are also a good tool for those who need leverage when entering or leaving the pool. Handrails are an important safety measure to take and you should consider these even if accessibility is not one of your primary concerns.
Steps into the pool can help people to submerge themselves in the water in stages as many people with a disability are unable to jump straight from the side of the pool into the water and climb back out onto the poolside. There are important regulations to follow for steps into a pool if they are intended to make the pool handicap accessible. The steps must have a uniform height and tread widths. The tread with must measure at least 11 inches.
One of the best devices for pool accessibility is a pool lift and there are many different options when it comes to choosing a lift for your pool. Options include manual lifts, battery-operated lifts, and motorized lifts. Regardless of which you choose, all pool lifts are intended to lower a person from the deck into the water and the person sits in the seat. There are also options when it comes to the type of seat as you can choose between a chair seat or a canvas sling.
Sloped Entry points
Another way of improving the accessibility of a pool is to have sloped entrances. This is one of the best options for people with mobility issues. If someone struggles with steps or wants to access the pool directly from a wheelchair, then it makes sense to use a sloped entrance. This is a ramp with handrails that gradually slopes into the water. It is important to note that you cannot use a sloped entrance with all wheelchairs as it can damage the wheelchair and contaminate the water. If you intend to wheel a wheelchair directly into the water, you should use an aquatic wheelchair as these are designed specifically for this purpose.
Area Surrounding the Pool
People often forget that it is just as important to make the area around the pool just as accessible as the pool itself. There is little point spending time and money on having accessibility devices fitted to your swimming pool if a person with a disability cannot get to the pool in the first instance. If the pool is on a different level to other areas of your garden, then you will need a ramp leading to the pool area.
You should also consider fitting handrails around the perimeter of the pool.
Considering each of these steps will help you to make your swimming pool accessible for everyone. As a result, each member of your family and any visitors you invite to your home can join in the fun in your pool.