THERE'S something in the water at Toowoomba, where people with dementia are participating in a new swimming program that 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 and 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 Swim Club developed by University of Queensland/ Blue Care Research Development Centre.
"The swimming club is dementia- specific, evidence based aquatic exercise program developed by UQ exercise physiologist Dr Tim Hernwood, who specialises in exercise for older peopl, and Associate Professor Christine Neveille, and expert in dementia care", Mr Donohoe said. "The program has resulted in a number of psychological and physical benefits for the participants." Blue Care's program facilitator, clinical nurse Marjorie Crawford, said it was great to the smiles on participants' 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 by the number of additional benefits we hadn't anticipated," she said.
"The wider community see and interact with people with memory loss and it also brings a 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.
The program will restart in September. Contact Tim Henwood at the UQ/ Blue Care Research and Practice Development Centre on 3720 5303 or firstname.lastname@example.org