May is Water Safety Month, which is appropriate since it’s the unofficial start of the summer swimming season. Swimming is a fantastic exercise for seniors because it’s low impact and it improves cardiovascular health and burns a lot of calories. Swimming is often recommended for seniors who have mobility challenges because the water makes it easy for them to exercise without pain. But, seniors do have some special challenges that require them to take some safety precautions if they are going to be swimming. A home care provider is a great companion for trips to the pool or the lake in the summer if you can’t be with your senior loved one.
The most recommended water safety tips for seniors and their home care aides to follow are:
Don’t Swim Alone
Even experienced swimmers can get into trouble in the water. A stray wave can swamp them, or they may suddenly feel dizzy or weak. Seniors should never swim alone in case they find themselves in a situation where they need help. Having a home care provider accompany a senior is a great way for your senior loved one to always have someone they can count on in the immediate area.
Seniors should wear sunscreen every time they go outside. The summer sun can be extremely damaging to senior skin. But in the water sunscreen can wash off more quickly and the UV rays from the sun can be more intense because of the water. Seniors who are going to swim should wear waterproof and sweatproof sunscreen and reapply it as often as necessary to keep themselves protected. A home care provider can help your senior loved one during their swim by making sure they regularly apply sunscreen and are as protected from the sun as possible.
Seniors who are swimming will burn a lot of calories and they may find that their blood sugar is dipping after vigorous swimming. Seniors should always bring some healthy snacks to the pool and take the time to stop and snack throughout the day. Healthy pool snacks that are easy to transport to the pool are snacks like protein bars and shakes, granola bars, or fruit. Your senior loved one should be drinking water throughout the day too, just not pool water! Bottled water and snacks are essential for any pool outing.
A Cover Up
Seniors need some sun appropriate clothing to protect their skin when they’re not swimming. A light long sleeved shirt and light pants are a good option. So is a light robe or oversized shirt that is made from a breathable fabric like cotton or linen. When not in the pool or lake seniors should focus on keeping their face, arms, and legs covered to protect them from the sun.
Stay Near The Dock
Seniors who are swimming in a lake should always stay near the shore or near the dock that people use for diving. Otherwise people might have a hard time getting to your senior loved one if they suddenly find themselves in a situation where they need help. Seniors should also wear life jackets or floatation devices if they are going to be swimming in a lake.