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YMCA Victoria aquatic centres launch Older Adults Water Safety Awareness series

YMCA Victoria aquatic centres launch Older Adults Water Safety Awareness series
June 7, 2019

Eight YMCA Victoria managed aquatic centres are running an Older Adults Water Safety Awareness series throughout June as part of the Play It Safe By the Water campaign.

Adults aged between 45 to 64 years have the highest age-specific fatal drowning rate in Victoria. On average every year there are 10 drowning deaths and 11 non-fatal drowning incidents requiring hospitalisation in this age group. Males in this age category are particularly at risk, representing 19% of Victoria’s drowning deaths. 

Despite this, research shows that older adults perceive themselves as a low risk group while the reality is quite different.  

This series aims to increase public awareness by testing water safety skills while having fun in the pool. 

The Older Adults Water Safety Awareness series runs for 20 minutes and includes water safety education and pool activity led by YMCA Swimming and Water Safety Teachers and Lifeguards. Participants will try basic key personal survival techniques like treading water and floating. It is followed by morning tea where participants will share their thoughts on how they felt testing out those skills again.

YMCA Aquatic Specialist Janelle Falkingham said the series has the potential to save lives, explaining "this group has the highest age-specific fatal drowning rate. We know that with age, fitness declines and reactions slow.

"You need to be aware of your current swimming ability and never underestimate the risks involved."

Falkingham highlighted that the class was welcome to all members who wanted to test their current skills, while looking at ways to build on them, adding "this is a fantastic and practical series that gives people the chance to check in, honestly ask ‘how am I doing?’ in a friendly and non-judgemental space."

Participating centres include Ashburton Pool and Recreation Centre, Noble Park Aquatic Centre, Casey ARC, Casey RACE, Coburg Leisure Centre, Wangaratta Indoor Sports and Recreation Centre, Northcote Aquatic Recreation Centre, Benalla Aquatic Centre and Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre. 

The sessions will act as introduction to water safety education and a gentle reminder that ongoing involvement in water-based activity requires the knowledge and skills to continue to stay safe in and around the water. Participants will be highly encouraged to enrol themselves in a program such as the Grey Medallion program or YMCA Swimming Lessons to continue their learning. 

Play It Safe By The Water campaign is in its 20th year and has seen a 46% decrease in the fatal drowning rate of Victorians since the start of the campaign.

Related Articles

6th June 2019 - Masters Swimming NSW to stage Adult Swim Clinic at Goulburn Aquatic and Leisure Centre 

6th June 2019 - YMCA at The Valleys Lifestyle Centre awarded for excellence in community recreation 

1st June 2019 - YMCA Camp Manyung partnership delivers safer, more inclusive beach and camping experience

15th May 2019 - YMCA Anglesea skate program helps reconnect indigenous youth with country and culture

15th May 2019 - YMCA-managed Port Lincoln Leisure Centre secures water safety award

2nd May 2019 - YMCA Victoria successfully delivers outdoor adventure camps for active seniors

21st March 2019 - Merger of Bendigo YMCAs will enhance local services

8th February 2019 - Campbelltown Council offers free swimming pool entry during Seniors Festival

20th August 2018 - YMCA Casey RACE secures National Aquatic Industry Safety Award

17th August 2017 - Hawthorn Aquatic and Leisure Centre secures Royal Life Saving facility safety award

27th July 2016 - ARI encourages NSW aquatic facilities to sign-up for Active Ageing Program grants

20th May 2014 - Victoria’s ‘Play it Safe by the Water’ campaign targets toddler drowning risk

4th December 2012 - ARV urges Victorians to ‘Play it Safe by the Water’ this summer

14th October 2011 - Older adults losing strength


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