The Royal Life Saving Society UK is holding the Drowning Prevention Week (DPW) from 18 - 25th June, one of the largest summer water safety campaign across the UK and Ireland. It is a very sad fact that 277 people lost their lives to unintentional drowning in the UK in 2021. The campaign is designed to explore a multitude of opportunities to proactively raise awareness of water safety.
Swimming is an affordable and fun exercise for the whole family, including elderly and people with disabilities. There's nothing like spending an afternoon splashing around in the water and enjoying time together.
While having so much fun it is easy to forget how dangerous swimming can be. We prepared a few tips of how to stay safe in and around the water. We recommend that everyone, Clients and Home Carers, should make necessary preparation especially when taking elderly or disabled to the beach or swimming pool.
The four parts of the Water Safety Code are: spot the dangers; take safety advice; do not go alone; learn how to help!
1. Get A Companion When Going Swimming!
Swimming alone might seem like a sensible thing to do, but only if you are a confident swimmer. Elderly and people with limited abilities should only swim under supervision. Lifeguards are available to watch the people and the water in the pool, lake or ocean. They are able to answer swimmers’ concerns and respond quickly in the event of an incident.
Even with a lifeguard nearby, it is not recommended to swim alone. Live-in Carers make an excellent companion when their Clients go swimming. Besides being more fun to swim with a companion, this also ensures there is someone who can go for help if something goes wrong.
2. Keep Supervision Ongoing!
If you are a caregiver for your loved one, it is understandable that you need to relax too. Arranging short term care is ideal when you are having a break. As a general rule of thumb, someone should be within arm's reach of a vulnerable adult at all times when they are swimming. Livein Carers remain watchful when their Clients are swimming - as well as enjoying fun activities together in the water.
3. Enter The Water Safely!
Severe injuries can occur when people jump or dive head first into shallow water. Remind your loved ones the proper way to enter and exit the water. If they are able and keen in jumping, make sure they do it the correct way and at the areas where it is safe to do so. If there are no areas suitable for diving, do not allow it, no matter how deep the water is!
4. Stay Within Designated Swim Areas!
Whether you are swimming in a pool, ocean or lake, staying within the designated swim areas is vital to staying safe. Never allow a vulnerable adult to swim in water deeper than their abilities will allow. Extra attention should be given if you are swimming in a lake or ocean - always follow local guidelines!
5. Practise Breathing Exercises Outside Water!
Learn how to breath in the water before going swimming, and teach your loved ones! Proper breathing techniques will prevent hyperventilation during swimming.
Inexperienced swimmers should always wear a Coast Guard-certified life jacket around water. There are plenty of products on the market claiming to help stay afloat, such as water wings, floaties, pool noodles. These, however, are not a substitute for life preservers or lifesaving devices in a genuine emergency. Remember - a life jacket or other flotation device should never be an excuse to ignore other water safety guidelines. Life jackets alone are not enough when it comes to staying safe around water.
6. Stay Away From Pool Drains!
If swimming in a pool, it is a good idea to show a vulnerable adult what the pool drain looks like and remind them the importance of staying clear before they even begin swimming. Their hair, bathing suits and even limbs can become stuck in broken or faulty drains, which can lead to drowning or serious injury. Make sure to stay away from these areas in pools, especially if a drain is missing a cover or appears otherwise broken. If you notice one that seems to be operating incorrectly, report it immediately.
7. Learn CPR!
Unfortunately, accidents happen even if all these guidelines are followed. As a caregiver supervising your loved one, it is critical for you to be familiar with lifesaving techniques. Knowing how to perform CPR can make the difference between life and death. There are a few places where you can get your CPR certification — your local Red Cross, hospital or other community organisations.
Swimming is an exercise that offers numerous benefits to elderly, including improving their heart health, better flexibility and stronger muscles. Swimming can help lower the risk of injury and enhance their mood and mental acuity. Water exercises allow the elderly a way to get in better shape without putting added stress or strain on the body.
If you would like to arrange care for your loved ones, Live-in care might be a solution for you. Get in touch to discuss the at home care package to suit your requirements: 01264 319 399