Swimming advice needed

Saralikesjazz

Registered User
Apr 27, 2007
3
Highbury
My father (78) has a mixed diagnosis - vascular dementia, with a bit of Parkinson's disease and a bit of Lewy Bodies and a bit of Alzheimer's... His main symptoms are visual / spatial problems and body stiffness. He still walks, often alone, nearly every day, at least a mile a day, and so far so good. His legs look ok, quite strong, although his posture is not at all good and he holds himself very stiffly. However his upper body and his arms are not much exercised and they look very thin and weak. He used to swim, and can still swim, and enjoys it, but now finds the public swimming pool and lane swimmimg much too daunting and cannot cope alone. He says that he would still swim, if someone could be on hand to help him into the water, and assist him afterwards. My mother (79) cannot swim, and would not be allowed in the mens' changing room to help him dress (he can just about do this alone - but takes ages). I do not live close by. Two questions - is it worthwhile in terms of his diagnosis to encourage him to swim - and secondly, if it is worthwhile, how would we go about finding a male carer who we could pay to take him swimming several times a week? Sorry, third question - if the swimming is not really beneficial are there any other activities which might be useful to increase his arm strength, and hopefully to keep him at home with mum a bit longer? He is mostly cheerful, and companionable.
 

Cate

Registered User
Jul 2, 2006
1,370
Newport, Gwent
Hi

My philosophy would be if it gives enjoyment to your dad to go swimming, why not. You could try Age Concern to see if they could suggest a volunteer to go with him, or maybe approach directly the nearest swimming pool to your dad, they may just have a scheme that would be suitable.

Best wishes

Cate
 

DeborahBlythe

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9,222
Cate's suggestion of Age Concern is a good one, or maybe there is a local AS group near you where the members might have some suggestions? My only thought is, 'Will one carer be enough to ensure your dad's safety, if his posture is poor and his arms weak?' I'm thinking of the entering and exiting bit, if the pool has those ladder-like steps or whatever.

I know this might sound a bit naive, but have your dad's needs been fully assessed by Social Services? ( You can ask for this even if he is likely to be self funding). Social Services MAY know of help that could be accessed, for the purpose of exercise. It might be better to get a registered carer rather than a volunteer, if possible, and you could try ringing up care agencies in Yellow Pages and asking them if they can provide a carer for this purpose. See what they say. With a registered carer you would have some peace of mind as to whether they would be properly trained in handling, and properly insured in the event , hopefully remote, of an accident. Also you can read reports of care agency quality on the CSCI website.
 

DeborahBlythe

Registered User
Dec 1, 2006
9,222
Deborah Blythe said:
Cate's suggestion of Age Concern is a good one, or maybe there is a local AS group near you where the members might have some suggestions? My only thought is, 'Will one carer be enough to ensure your dad's safety, if his posture is poor and his arms weak?' I'm thinking of the entering and exiting bit, if the pool has those ladder-like steps or whatever.

I know this might sound a bit naive, but have your dad's needs been fully assessed by Social Services? ( You can ask for this even if he is likely to be self funding). Social Services MAY know of help that could be accessed, for the purpose of exercise. It might be better to get a registered carer rather than a volunteer, if possible, and you could try ringing up care agencies in Yellow Pages and asking them if they can provide a carer for this purpose. See what they say. With a registered carer you would have some peace of mind as to whether they would be properly trained in handling, and properly insured in the event , hopefully remote, of an accident. Also you can read reports of care agency quality on the CSCI website.
I hope this doesn't sound ultra cautious.
 

Saralikesjazz

Registered User
Apr 27, 2007
3
Highbury
Many thanks for suggestions - will try to follow through with social services and Age Concern when I get a chance - or try to get my mum on the case - she works in the local Oxfam shop so should have some contacts. Any suggestions on other types of easy to understand exercises for arms and upper body? Thanks again
Sara
 

MillyP

Registered User
Jan 5, 2007
108
London
Deborah Blythe said:
I hope this doesn't sound ultra cautious.
No it certainly doesn't...I was thinking the same thing. You also have to ask yourself, will your Dad remember how to swim...Vascular Dementia takes alot from a person and maybe when he gets into the water, he might panic. Just a thought.
 

Nell

Registered User
Aug 9, 2005
1,170
68
Australia
In Australia there are a number of places that have "therapy pools" - usually warm water pools where people with arthritis (or similar) can walk or swim gently for exercise. Some have hoists to help disabled people in and out. These are MUCH easier for elderly or disabled people to cope with than the public baths.

I imagine there would be something similar in the UK. Could you get your Dad assessed by a Physiotherapist (it certainly sounds like he could benefit from seeing one) and ask them for a referral to a Therapy Pool? They should be able to tell you if there are any attendants at the pool who can assist your Dad, or if you would need to provide an individual Carer.

Best of luck.
 

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