What’s old is new again.
Swimming pool builders across the country are finding a lucrative revenue stream in assisted living facilities and retirement communities. The projects, which have become more frequent in a handful of markets, are providing a needed boost as new residential construction remains modest at best.
“I do see those types of projects coming up more often,” said Tim Van Kirk, co-owner of Van Kirk & Sons, a Pool & Spa News Top Builder based in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “What you’re getting is a lot of these retirees who want to replicate the lifestyle and the quality of life they’re leaving behind when they move into these facilities. So I do expect those to increase in the next few years.”
With the first wave of baby boomers turning 65 this year, it’s no wonder that communities catering to seniors have become a growth area, builders said.
Projects range from simple swim spas and hot tubs to elaborate, resort-style setups with clubhouses, putting greens and picnic areas.
Many developments also are being designed with multiple pools because residents may not be able to walk far to access one.
Billy Faught, who is project manager at Robertson Commercial Pools in Coppell, Texas, said his firm has built more than a few fitness and therapy-type pools for assisted-living facilities in the past three years.
These vessels are typically around 1,000 to 1,500 square feet in length, with multiple lanes for laps and space for water aerobics, he said. They also often include ramps and additional stainless steel handrails, as well as ADA-compliant lifts for accessibility.
“I remember we also put an especially large heater in one,” he said, “because they wanted to make the swim season last through winter. It’s definitely a key market out there right now.”
Despite a slumping economy, Florida continues to be a popular destination for retirees, said Jeffrey Clarkson, owner of Florida Bonded Pools in Jacksonville, Fla., who has built several pools at senior living facilities in the past few years, and recently completed one in his hometown.
One trend, he noted, was nursing homes being updated and modified to accommodate more active ways of life, including water aerobics and hot water therapy, and incorporating a broader range of services.
“You’re seeing these developments with cafes and salons and pools and spas,” Clarkson said. “They’re creating communities for adults who really never have to leave the facility — almost like a fraternity house for seniors.”
It’s a niche market, he added, but certainly one he will continue to target.