As all of our Arthritis Foundation aquatic instructors are getting recertified, I thought it might be interesting to share the story of our pool and how our first wellness program was started! Before I talk about our history, did you know that over the course of a month, we have over 200 visitors coming to our aquatic class on average? As Ingham County’s Medical Care Facility with a 175 year history of serving our community, we are so honored to be able to serve that many monthly visitors!

The pool was built in 2011, and the intention was for patient and resident use only. This is why we have only 1 shower, 1 locker room, and 2 restrooms. (Needless to say, we are excited about our new building as we are adding shower rooms and restrooms! This will make the process before/after classes much quicker and smoother.)

Our pool water temperature is approximately 94 degrees, and we aim to keep the air temperature between 85-90 degrees, and the floor is also heated. The size of Dobie’s pool is 20X30 and it is 4 feet deep. There is also a bench under the water that many sit on to enjoy the jets—it feels amazing, and I can speak from experience!

We saw a need for community classes in 2014, and knew we had the space and warm water temperatures to make it happen. At that time, training through the Arthritis Foundation for our staff was in Ann Arbor, and Dobie sent 2-3 employees to become certified. We held 1 class per week, which happened to be on Wednesday nights and the maximum number of participants was 15, with everyone having to register in advance.

In 2016, we recognized a demand for more classes, and luckily, we were able to beef up our schedule to 4 days per week with class sizes ranging from 5 – 20 participants. While the best size class, in my opinion, is between 10-12because we can maximize the size of the pool and get folks moving around.

In addition to our community class times, we began having requests for one-on-one pool time with instructors in the water with a wellness participant. We accommodated those requests and now our instructors are in the pool with 1 – 3 participants for one-on-one sessions each week.

I am proud to say that over the years, we’ve had many different requests from community members and have been able to accommodate many of them, including

  • A class where there was no instruction so participants can get to know each other.
  • More of a variety of times throughout the week.
  • One-on-one sessions with an instructor available.
  • Add another evening class to accommodate those working a full work day.

We are always happy and excited to hear what you need; our mission statement here is Dedicated to Improving Lives, so if Dobie can make your request happen, we will! We do our best to make participants feel welcome and comfortable by providing a relaxed environment and judgement free classes.

Did we peak your interest in our warm water aquatics? If so, we now offer 6 classes per week:

Monday: 2—3pm
Tuesday: 2—3pm (open swim / unstructured)
5:30—6:30p
Wednesday: 5:30—6:30pm
Thursday: 11—12pm
Friday: 11—12pm.

We are super excited to continue to grow our wellness programming in the water and on land, and we hope you’ll be comfortable sharing what you hope to see in the future. We are so thankful for everyone’s support of our Wellness team. We love what we do and can’t wait to see what the future holds and look forward to improving more lives!