Riverview Retirement Community opened a state-of-the-art, 13,000-square-foot aquatics and fitness center Wednesday, anticipating a booming demand among its seniors for water aerobics and water-based physical and recreational therapy.
It even has a lazy river.
“We call it our fountain of youth,” said Riverview president and CEO Patrick O’Neill.
The new $5 million facility has a therapy pool, a lap pool, hot tub, lazy river, a fitness gym and an indoor walking track. It also has wheelchair access to the lap pool.
The center is the latest addition to the community’s 32-acre campus on Upriver Drive along the Spokane River, and it’s available for use by the community’s 450 residents and visiting family members.
O’Neill said he and others behind the project toured retirement community aquatics centers throughout Washington, and the center borrowed some ideas from the Salvation Army Kroc Center in Coeur d’Alene.
“We had residents of our community with us,” O’Neill said. “(They) were part of the input.”
Riverview was Spokane’s first aging-in-place retirement community when it opened in 1959. The community still offers a “continuum of care” model, which means seniors can transition from independent units to assisted living care to skilled nursing home care at the end of their lives.
The nonprofit community is Lutheran-affiliated, but people of all religious backgrounds live there.
Aging experts predict that in the next decade many retirement communities will build pools or upgrade existing pools because water aerobics and water-based therapy are easier on aging bones, joints and muscles.
Water workouts also help with balance to prevent falls – a leading cause of injury and death for older people, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Fitness centers also offer opportunities for socialization among residents, another key component to healthy aging.