Why Your Independent Living Community Should Have a Swimming Pool

For many people, having access to a swimming pool is all about cooling off and relaxing during the summer months.

The same can be said for the more than 500 residents at St. John’s Meadows. Their community’s pool can certainly provide a refreshing respite on a hot summer day.  Yet for many, having a pool just steps away from their front door that they can use every day means so much more.

Pool is a key to physical well-being

For residents like Brenda Rutt, the pool is more than a nice amenity available for occasional use. It is a key component to maintaining an active lifestyle.  “One of the reasons I picked St. John’s to live is because of this wonderful facility,” Brenda says of the pool, located in Chestnut Court. She was one of the founding members of the Westside YMCA on Elmgrove Road and used the facility’s pool regularly. After caregiving for her late husband and facing health problems of her own, Brenda could no longer drive to the Y.

Not having access to the pool meant that Brenda lost her best opportunity to improve her physical well-being. “You can do a lot more in the pool than you can do on land,” Brenda says, alluding to the benefits of low impact exercise on bones, muscles, and joints.  “And when I’m not in the pool I know that I haven’t been in the pool. I can feel it. I just haven’t had the exercise that I need.”

Fellow St. John’s Meadows resident Rebecca Jones agrees.  “I have had a lot of physical therapy and water is probably the only thing that takes the pain away,” she says. “When you’re in pain and you’re in water, you don’t feel it as much.”

Sue LaSage also lives at St. John’s Meadows and considers the pool an important part of her exercise regime. “The pool is a wonderful solution to have,” she says. “Exercising outside of the pool takes such a greater toll on your body than in the pool.”

Fortunately for those who live at St. John’s Meadows, there are several formal and informal opportunities to exercise in the swimming pool. St. John’s Meadows Wellness Specialist Steve Gardner holds Aquatics Strength and Balance classes at the pool twice each week. The Town of Brighton also provides lifeguards that offer swimming classes held at the pool.


Water sports play significant role in social experience

Four years ago when it was time to find a new home in independent living, Brenda Rutt told her son that finding a community with a pool was a prerequisite.  “I told him ‘I have to go somewhere where I can meet in the pool with people,” Brenda recalls.

She soon landed at St. John’s Meadows and has reaped both the physical and social benefits that access to a swimming pool can offer.  Prior to the COVID-10 pandemic, Brenda joined a group of residents who met up at the pool to swim several times a week early in the morning.  About a year ago, she joined Rebecca, Sue, and a handful of other residents at the pool on Wednesday afternoons for aquatic volleyball.

What had started out as just a fun activity to try has become a major part of the social calendar for nearly a dozen residents. “You should have seen us before,” Brenda says, commenting on how far the collective volleyball skills of the group have improved compared to when they started. Based on the constant laughter, banter, and wide smiles seen and heard throughout their volleyball sessions, it seems that the social connections made between members of the group are just as impressive as their quality of play.


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