Poor mobility is forgotten when frail elderly return to the ocean

Joan Wallis is wheeled back by physio co-ordinator Lynn Rathbone. d415119
Joan Wallis is wheeled back by physio co-ordinator Lynn Rathbone. d415119

The residents, who have low mobility, are part of a beach swimming program to provide exercise and movement and inspire reminisces of sand and sea.

Staff members push the residents in specially modified wheelchairs down ramps onto the swimming beach and into the sea, where they ‘float’ in noodle seats.

‘We invite four of our residents to the beach each week,’ physiotherapist and program co-ordinator Lynn Rathbone said.

‘We set up under the shade of the gazebo and prepare the swimmers with sunscreen, T-shirts and hats.

‘Once in the water, we encourage the residents to kick their legs, move their arms and generally enjoy the freedom of movement in the water.

‘Afterwards, we move back up to the gazebo for hot drinks and homemade cake.’

Amana Living service manager Stephanie Steensma said the trip might seem a logistical feat but worked really well thanks to great staff teamwork. ‘It’s always worth the effort and rewarding for everyone because the residents really love it.’