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Elder Care Observances: Summer Safety Tips for Recreational Water Illness and Injury Prevention Week

Elder Care in Wendell, NC – May 18 – 24 is National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week

Labor Day is just around the corner which means it is time to put away all thoughts of winter, crack open all the windows, and bring your elder care activities outside. Getting outside during the warmer months of the year can be a fun way to increase physical activity, get that essential daily dose of sunlight, and elevate your mood and mental well-being. While giving your elderly parents the fun and benefits of enjoying summer activities, however, it is crucial to keep in mind their safety and health. The summer months offer tremendous opportunity for experiences and memory-building, but many of these activities, especially those revolving around water, may carry potential risks. Understanding these risks and having plans in place ensure you can take advantage of all the summer has to offer while feeling confident your aging loved ones are safe and secure.

May 18 – 24 is National Healthy and Safe Swimming Week. During this week the CDC as well as many water recreation organizations encourage families to learn more about the illness and injury risks associated with water recreation and find out what they can do to protect themselves and their loved ones while having fun and cooling off.

The first component of this week-long observation is “recreational water illness” or RWI. This refers to illnesses that occur due to contamination of the water at pools, water parks, ponds, rivers, lakes, streams, and oceans. The most common type of illness associated with water recreation is diarrhea, but germs in the water can also cause other problems such as nausea, eye infections, ear infections, respiratory infections, and skin infections. Seniors tend to be even more susceptible to these illnesses, making it vital to implement safe swimming practices any time you and your aging parents head out for some swimming fun.

Use these tips to make swimming safer and healthier throughout the late spring and summer months:

  • Swim in disinfected water. Natural bodies of water can contain germs that lead to RWIs, but people are much more likely to use healthy swimming practices in natural water, so it is important to pay close attention to the health of the water when visiting pools and water parks. Chlorine is highly effective at killing germs, so make sure you can detect a faint smell of chlorine when near the water. If available, check the pH indicator. A pH of 7.2 to 7.8 is ideal for germ-killing effectiveness
  • Keep germs out. Do your part to protect others from RWIs by helping keep germs out of the water. Make sure you and your elderly parents shower thoroughly before getting in the water, do not enter the water if you have diarrhea or any infections, and never leave any bodily fluids in the water. Also avoid getting in the pool while wearing shoes or other clothing that have dirt on them
  • Leave the water in the pool. Keep as many of the potential germs out of your body as possible by never letting water in your mouth, never swallowing the water, and avoiding opening your eyes under the water unless you are wearing goggles.

Beyond staying healthy while enjoying water recreation, it is also important to make considerations for safety while spending time on the water. Use these tips to keep yourself and your elderly parents safe during your recreation:

  • Never leave them unsupervised. Seniors are among the most at-risk group for swimming injuries, including drowning. Do not leave your parents alone by the pool or on a watercraft. Consider an elderly health care company to come with you on these outings so there is always someone to help your parents enjoy their recreation
  • Wear proper safety equipment. Any time your parents are on any type of watercraft they should wear proper safety devices. Not all life jackets and flotation devices are the same, so look specifically for items authorized by the U.S. Coast Guard. This means the device is approved based on all of the safety guidelines of this organization and can be considered a valid life-saving device
  • Enter water slowly and carefully. Even experienced swimmers can be taken off guard when they walk onto a surface they aren’t expecting. If your elderly father thinks he is walking into a calm wading pool with a sandy bottom and ends up on a rocky ledge with a steep drop-off it could create a very serious situation. Encourage your aging parents to enter water slowly and carefully so they can detect potential hazards in the water and on the ground and adjust their movements to accommodate them.

The articles posted on this blog are provided for general information and discussion purposes only.  These articles are not intended to suggest anything with respect to the operations or services of this office.

If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Raleigh, NC, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (919) 229-8944