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This summer, older adults all over New York City will swim, take a water exercise class, or just meet new people and cool off during special senior-only morning hours at the city’s public swimming pools. The program, Senior Splash, opened for the season on July 9 and runs through August 23. The Parks Department website offers a list of participating pools and program days and hours.
The creation of Senior Splash is just one outcome of the Age-friendly NYC initiative, a partnership between NYAM, the Mayor’s Office, and City Council to meet the needs of the city’s rapidly growing older population. The program started because older adults in East Harlem participating in Age-friendly NYC said they wanted to go swimming but found their nearby pool at Thomas Jefferson Park to be too crowded and unwelcoming. In 2011 and 2012, the new senior-only hours brought nearly 100 older people to the pool every day. Because of its success, older New Yorkers in 15 different neighborhoods now have the same chance.
Appropriately, the kickoff event for the city’s outdoor pool season took place at Thomas Jefferson Pool on June 28. City Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito and NYC Department for the Aging Commissioner Lilliam Barrios-Paoli both made remarks emphasizing the importance of Senior Splash and the significance of celebrating the season’s launch at the pool where the program began.
“We have a very active senior population who enjoy their city parks and love to use the pool as a means of exercise and as a way to cool off during the hot summer months,” Ms. Barrios-Paoli said. “Today’s launch of our pool season is especially gratifying to us as we mark continued success with our Age-friendly initiative. This is just another step as we continue to make our pools, our parks, and our city age-friendly.”
After the speeches, the pool officially opened for the season with a water aerobics class for older adults.
Diana “Nanna” Gibbs, age 77, is a regular at the pool who was particularly excited to celebrate the season’s opening. “I come to the pool three times a week,” Ms. Gibbs said. “I have arthritis and the pool feels good.” She enjoys it so much that “They always say, ‘Hey, Miss Gibbs! It’s time to get out of the pool!’”
Posted on July 11, 2013
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