New swim club helps memories surface
There’s something in the water at Toowoomba where people with dementia are participating in a new swimming program which is stirring up happy memories and delivering surprising benefits.
Every week, eight Blue Care residents head along to Milne Bay Aquatic Centre - some know why they are going, some don’t – but everyone has high spirits and a sense that something fun and exciting is about to happen.
Blue Care Residential Support Officer Stuart Donohoe said the Water Memories Swimming Club was developed by the University of Queensland/Blue Care Research & Practice Development Centre.
The swimming club is a dementia-specific, evidence-based aquatic exercise program developed by UQ Exercise Physiologist Dr Tim Henwood, who specialises in exercise for older people, and Associate Professor Christine Neville, an expert in dementia care,” Mr Donohoe said.
"The program has resulted in a number of psychological and physical benefits for the participants who say they feel more relaxed."
Blue Care’s program facilitator, Clinical Nurse Marjorie Crawford said it was great to see the smiles on participants’ faces as they revisited childhood memories in an environment where they felt safe.
"We were advised on some of the benefits residents could expect but I was surprised there have been so many additional benefits we hadn’t anticipated," she said.
"Just getting the residents out and active in a community setting is terrific.
"It’s important the wider community gets to see and interact with people with memory loss and it also brings a lot of joy to family members and staff to see the residents outside the care environment."
The program is open to participants of all age groups and levels of care. It is delivered by a qualified swim instructor and each participant is assisted in the pool by a family member or volunteer.
In September the program will restart and anyone interested should contact Tim Henwood at the UQ/ Blue Care Research & Practice Development Centre on 07 3720 5303 or email email@example.com.
Blue Care started as the Blue Nursing Service in 1953 and has grown into one of Australia’s leading providers of residential aged care, community care and retirement living.