May 02, 2018
The residents have been going to the nearby Dorking leisure centre swimming pool once a week since September 2017. In just over seven months, residents who never learnt to swim have swum small distances, one lady’s past success as an open water champion has been revealed, and another gentleman has lost weight.
Taking residents swimming was the idea of Candace, the lifestyle lead at the home. Candace, who has profound hearing loss, has always had the attitude of ‘why can’t I?’ which informs her work with residents. She is always thinking of new ways to give residents the chance to do things they thought they’d never get to do.
“We’ve removed every obstacle we can so that any resident, whatever their capacity or ability, can go swimming,” Candace says. “We have a hoist for any residents who use wheelchairs; we have the pool entirely to ourselves for an hour; there are two lifeguards on duty and we have a special needs/dementia-trained swimming instructor. The local council also funds us too!”
All residents who attend the sessions have been awarded national Swim England certificates for their effort and achievements, with one resident swimming 25 metres.
Candace explains the positive impact that the sessions have been having. “Since we started, we’ve noticed a reduction in falls in the residents who attend, and they’re also sleeping much better. One of the gentlemen who comes has reduced his weight, while others have overcome their fears about water and are loving the experience. We even discovered that one lady had been an open water swimming champion in her twenties.
“The residents have made incredible progress, and the word has spread about the benefits. We started with three residents, and now we’re taking ten each week – and counting!” says Candace.
Spook Hill, North Holmwood, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 4EG
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