If Residents Are Re-Enacting Scenes From “Titanic,” Consider Heating Your Pool

I always loved swimming in my grandma’s pool in Maryland, but the water was absolutely freezing. It wasn’t exactly Titanic cold, but if Rose were there, I would have put up a good fight for that piece of wood she hogged while Jack froze to death.

Needless to say, I was never in any rush to dive into the water. Then one day, after pacing around the deck of the pool for several minutes, I decided I needed to mentally psych myself up. I told my younger brother that if I didn’t jump in the pool in five seconds, Grandma would die.

Say what you will about my morbid, 10-year-old mind, but four seconds later, I was in the water. I loved my grandma more than I loved being able to feel my extremities.

While my familial devotion is touching, your residents shouldn’t have to put their grandmother’s fate on the line just to take a dip in your pool—even if the weather isn’t ideal.

RMK Management operates 25 communities in the Midwest, 20 of which have outdoor, heated pools that open as early as mid-April and don’t close until mid- to late-October. The pools are heated to 82 degrees when they open every season (you hear that, Grandma?), but RMK Vice President Diana Pittro says the heating system is used as more of a back-up in the summer because the weather is typically warm enough to naturally keep the water temperature at a comfortable level.

Residents love the warm water and extended pool season because there is such a small window in the Midwest to enjoy traditional, non-heated pools and no one likes playing “who can still feel their fingers and toes?” (Or, in my case, how many seconds before Grandma dies?)

Although RMK’s outdoor pools close by the end of October, residents still take advantage of the barbecue grills located in the pool area well into November. Others read on the lounge chairs around the pool after it has closed. Keeping the general area open is a smart idea. Pool season isn’t just about swimming; it’s about socializing. Residents are more likely to stay if they feel a connection to their neighbors and community, and the pool deck is a great place to start those relationships.

While RMK caters to its residents as much as possible, there are some restrictions. None of the pools have a slide or diving board, for example. And if you’ve ever seen a kid attempt to do a back flip off of a diving board for the first time, you understand why. Picture a lot of Band-Aids and a very unhappy insurance company.

For more on pool management and maintenance, check out my article, “No Shoes, No Shirt, No Sun—No Problem” in the April issue of units, which mails April 8.

For more on how to overcome those mental hurdles and dive right in, e-mail me for some additional (non-traditional) tricks. Grandma, it should be known, is still (flutter) kicking.