While water workouts can be a perfect form of low-impact exercise for seniors, it is important to remember the additional pool safety requirements for older adults. When these safety elements are overlooked, the pool can become a dangerous place for seniors, even those who are active and healthy. We are committed to giving you the information you need to protect yourself and your loved ones.
That is why we have put together a list of pool safety tips for seniors.
1. Do not swim alone
Swimming alone is never safe because unexpected issues can arise for anyone at any time. When you are a senior, however, swimming alone is even more dangerous. That is why we suggest always having a buddy – either in the pool or close-by. This person should know where all your key safety devices are, including your first aid kit and any medication you could need.
2. Be careful entering and exiting the pool
Seniors tend to have more mobility issues and falls are more common. That is why it is important to be cautious while entering and exiting your pool. Always hold the handrail and do not rush. If you have significant mobility issues, consider adding a pool lift. These devices allow you to sit in a seat that is then lowered into and raised out of the water, eliminating the need to climb in and out of the pool.
3. Remove clutter in and around the water
Clutter in the water makes it harder to navigate the pool and it increases the likelihood of slips and mobility concerns. In addition, it can slow your buddy’s ability to get to you in the event of an emergency. Given this, we strongly recommend keeping your water as free from clutter as possible.
4. Have an easily accessible flotation device
While clutter can be dangerous, it is important to have easily accessible flotation devices, especially for seniors. This way, if there is an issue, you can ensure your head is kept above water. In addition, a close-by floatation device can assist your buddy in getting you to the edge of the pool if you encounter an emergency.
5. Consult with a doctor before starting any water-based exercise
As a senior, you should always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise routine, this includes pool exercises. This is true even if the exercises feel light. If your doctor approves your exercise routine, we suggest ramping up your workout slowly. That will prevent you from over-doing it, which can be easy to do in the water as pool exercises tend to be enjoyable. Of course, if you ever experience distress while working out, stop the exercise you are doing immediately and check back in with your doctor.
6. Make others aware of any specific health concerns and take the necessary precautions for them
Ensuring your buddy is aware of any health concerns you have and how to handle them if they arise is key to pool safety. For example, if you have angina, you need your buddy to know this before you have an attack. Remember to also alert your buddy to any health issues that could have an impact on your decision making, such as dementia. If you are dealing with health issues that do alter judgement, consider getting a lockable cover for your pool and having someone else hold the key.
With a pool safety plan in place, you can enjoy a safe and fun water workout. Not sure what exercises to consider incorporating? We suggest speaking with your doctor about whether any of these options are right for you.