Community Blog

Should My Aging Loved One Be Swimming?

By Vicki and Brian Day

Some of the best summer days are spent by the side of the swimming pool, but those with aging loved ones may be wondering whether it’s okay for them to go swimming. Whether they want to join in with family members at the local pool, live in a community with one or are on vacation where swimming is a planned activity, many seniors get excited to swim. Family caregivers that manage their loved ones elderly care may be asking themselves, “Should my aging loved one be swimming?”

The good news is that seniors with basic mobility should have no restrictions on swimming, but there are definitely some things that family caregivers can do to make sure their loved ones are kept safe from accidents.

Seniors and Swimming

Swimming is actually a wonderful activity for seniors that have basic mobility and are not restricted from it by their physician. Unlike many other activities, swimming presents little risk of slip and fall accidents once they are in the water. Swimming is also a low-impact activity, which helps with weaker muscles and sore joints. Finally, swimming gives seniors a chance to build up muscle and strengthen their core due to the resistance that the water provides as they move around.

Studies show that seniors that swim regularly benefit in many ways, from increased physical fitness to better mental health. So if family caregivers are on the fence about whether or not their elderly loved ones should start swimming, the answer is a definite yes.

Safety Precautions and Senior Swimmers

Just because it’s OK for an aging loved one to go swimming doesn’t mean that family caregivers don’t have to take precautions to make sure they don’t get hurt. The areas around a swimming pool, like the locker room or pool deck, can be extremely slippery. A slip and fall accident can be extremely serious for seniors, so every care should be taken to ensure they don’t fall.

Many swimming venues are outdoors, which can present a whole new set of challenges for keeping elderly loved ones healthy and safe. That’s because sun exposure and sunburns can affect seniors in a more negative way than other age groups. Therefore, they should have sunscreen with a high SPF applied every hour that they swim. Finally, exercise and being outdoors in the hot sun can lead to dehydration quickly in seniors, so they should always have access to water bottles to cool down and avoid thirst.

Senior-Friendly Swim Accessories

Seniors don’t need much more than a swimsuit and towel to enjoy the water, but there are a few items that seniors might find helpful when they go swimming. Whether it’s for recreation or for a more structured exercise time in the pool, swim accessories may make things more convenient for them. Of course, swim caps, goggles and personal flotation devices like kickboards or pool noodles can enhance time in the pool. Many seniors feel more stable with a swim belt, which is a flotation device that fits around the waist and helps keep them upright in case they slip on the floor of the

Unless an aging loved one has been specifically instructed by a doctor to avoid swimming, or they are physically unable to participate, they will most likely enjoy spending time in a pool. Family caregivers should do what they can to ensure that swimming and water activities are a regular part of their loved ones elderly care plan.