When you’re creating a safer pool area that will be used by older adults, it helps to understand that senior pool safety comes with some unique concerns not often faced by younger adult or child swimmers. As our bodies age, they change, and those changes can affect both their physical and mental capacities to safely enjoy the pool. While sometimes hard to accept, embracing this new phase of life and ensuring you know how to use the pool safely for relaxation, exercise, or therapy means your loved one can still enjoy the backyard oasis they love so much. Senior swimming remains a healthy, low-impact way to make sure the elders in your life can thrive, not just survive.
As we age, it’s important to keep your body and mind active. That means getting exercise that moves your body, mental stimulation to stay sharp, and a positive outlook that keeps life full of…well, life. Swimming pools can be an important part of the process, providing a comfortable environment where seniors can gather with friends and family. With senior pool safety in mind, the pool can get your body moving, provide the opportunity to develop and maintain new skills, and interact with others to keep the mind clear.
Safer Senior Swimming
While seniors can still enjoy the pool, the reality is they may not be able to enjoy it quite the same as they did when they were younger. This can be a difficult truth to face, especially for lifelong swimmers who want to maintain their formerly rigorous athletic abilities. Preparing the pool area for senior pool safety helps protect some more vulnerable friends and family members so they can continue to enjoy the pool for many years to come.
Pool Safety Barriers
Safety barriers save lives. Thousands of people succumb to accidental drowning injuries annually, and a lack of adequate protective barriers is cited as a contributing cause in many of them. For seniors who need swimming supervision, pool safety barriers help prevent unsupervised access that can leave them in a dangerous situation without help. More active seniors can still benefit from safety barriers both when visited by grandkids or in case they experience an emergency themselves or with an aging partner.
- Removable Mesh Pool Fencing – More adaptable and cost-effective than many traditional pool fence types. With strong poles, rip-resistant material, and a self-closing and latching gate, it secures the pool area when it’s not safe for senior swimming time.
- Swimming Pool Safety Covers – Safety covers are anchored around the deck and sit above the water’s surface to prevent entry. This includes both when the pool is supposed to be closed and free of swimmers because a responsible or healthy party isn’t available to supervise the activities, or if an emergency event occurs that puts a senior at risk of accidental immersion, such as an ischemic attack, bout of confusion, or dizzy spell. The rip-resistant material is strong enough to hold them up and out of the water until they can be pulled to safety.
- Safety Nets – Similar to safety covers, these strong nets make the perfect second layer of protection behind a pool fence. The knotted twine can be more difficult for seniors to walk on far from the deck, preventing both water entry and them from moving far from the pool’s deck across the surface.
Keep Temperatures Regulated
Senior pool safety includes making sure senior swimmers don’t get too hot or too cold. From medical conditions to medications, there are many factors that can impair the body’s ability to maintain a safe core temperature. If the pool isn’t heated, care should be taken about using the pool when temperatures drop. Watch carefully for warning signs of distress, like shivering, difficulty breathing, or altered states of consciousness. Plan for time to get out of the pool and warm up periodically. If the temperatures are too hot, make sure that shade is available to get out of the sun, rest for a bit, and ensure that fatigue isn’t setting in.
Stop The Slips
Slips and falls are a big danger to seniors, who may have coordination and balance difficulties or whose bones may be weakening with age. Ensure your deck has an anti-slip coating or add anti-slip pads to prevent the area from becoming a slip-and-fall hazard. Ladder rungs and steps need special attention, as a slip or fall entering or exiting the pool can not only cause potential injuries but also increases the risk of accidental drowning.
Independent Doesn’t Mean Alone
Swimming alone increases your risk at any age, but with individuals who are already at risk, it can prove to be a fatal mistake. Senior swimming should always be done with the buddy system so there’s a second set of eyes to watch for dangers and signs of distress. If both seniors are still healthy and have been cleared by their physicians for physical activity, they can safely partner with each other. If one or both have impaired physical or cognitive abilities, there should be at least one capable swimmer to serve as a responsible party in the case of an emergency situation.
Talk About Training
While the old adage says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, you’re never too old to learn senior pool safety. Check with the American Red Cross for local swimming class providers that can help teach or improve swimming skills for the elderly. Classes that focus on water safety for seniors are also commonly available. Even if the senior in your life doesn’t want to get training, you can make sure you’re ready in the event of an emergency by learning CPR, first aid, or water safety and rescue techniques.
Get Your Free Pool Safety Quote
When you want to make senior pool safety a priority, your local All-Safe Pool installer is ready to help. They’ll set a time to take measurements, talk to you about the needs of your senior swimmers, and give you a written estimate that lays out how cost-effective peace of mind can be. Protect your pool and your loved ones. Request your no-cost, no-obligation quote from your independent All-Safe Pool installer today.