New lift makes entering the pool safer

Monique Chiasson
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TRURO - It's hard to get Kirstin Woodman's attention as she is being lowered into the water.
For the 13-year-old teenager from
Lower Truro who has cerebral palsy, a new hydraulic lift at Centennial Pool creates a sense of awe and excitement that captures all her attention.
Although Kirstin has limited verbal abilities, she nods her head when asked if the lift makes life easier.
"It makes a huge difference," said Kirstin's mom Janet. "The biggest issue is safety. She was able to get in the pool but getting out was a problem. It took two volunteers and my husband to get her out."
Kirstin has been using the pool weekly for about five years. Swim time provides her social opportunities, exercise and can be viewed as a simple form of therapy. Having the lift installed at the public pool enables Kirstin to use the facility easier.
Janet said her daughter appreciates not always requiring her mother's assistance getting in the pool with her. "Now she can get in without me and it's important to her because she enjoys her independence and to be with people her own age," said Janet.
Suzanne Hicks McCully, the pool's aquatics director, said the specialized lift can not only be used by people with special needs but by seniors as well. The lift is an improvement from the limited equipment previously available at the pool.
"It's one less barrier ... before all we really had was a set of walk-in stairs to each pool," said Hicks McCully.
The aquatics director said only a handful of people, that she is aware of, have made use of the lift over the summer. However, she anticipates it will be used more now that fall pool programs are getting underway.

mchiasson@trurodaily.com

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