The Soloway Jewish Community Centre (SJCC) is making it easier for wheelchair-bound community members to enjoy the centre’s facilities.
Thanks to a partnership with Tamir, the SJCC pool is now equipped with a Hoyer lift that makes it accessible to those in wheelchairs. The lift is essentially a sling that lifts the swimmer out of the chair and lowers him or her into the water.
In addition, the SJCC family change room’s handicapped stall is now equipped with a new electric change table that moves up and down and can support the weight of an adult. This makes changing an easier task for some of the Tamir participants and the people who work with them.
For Paul Finn’s son Jordan, a 29-year-old Tamir participant who is severely disabled and confined to a wheelchair, the Hoyer lift and new change table have made a world of difference.
“Jordan loves swimming and floating around in the pool. With the new change table, Tamir staff will be able to get Jordan ready for swimming in a safe environment, and the lift will get him in and out of the pool safely,” said Paul. “We are delighted that the SJCC is able to accommodate Jordan and other members who have similar disability issues. We are very appreciative to Tamir and the SJCC for working so hard to make this a reality.”
Twenty-four of Tamir’s day program participants swim at the SJCC on a regular basis. For some, it is a form of exercise and therapy as the buoyancy of the water helps them move their muscles in ways they would not be able to otherwise.
“Now, with the lift and table in place, five of our adults who are confined to wheelchairs will have the opportunity to go swimming,” said Neil Leslie, Tamir Foundation director of fundraising and communications. “This really shows how specialized equipment can open up the accessibility for all who want to have choices like going swimming.
“Often, it is activities that others take for granted that make a huge difference in the lives of our participants. It is a great partnership between Tamir and the SJCC, which benefits everyone in the community.”
The SJCC pool is also accessible by a ramp equipped with a railing making it easier for participants of specialty aquafit classes, including Post-Stroke, AquaCan – for those dealing with cancer or recovering from cancer – and AquaArthritis, to get in and out of the pool.
As well, thanks to a grant from Employment and Social Development Canada’s Enabling Accessibility Fund, the SJCC has recently added a number of automatic doors to the facility. Users of the centre can now move more easily through the front doors, in and out of the family change room, and in and out of the pool via automatic doors.