The potential for increased drowning among older adults and
seniors will continue as more "baby boomers" retain the same
behaviours of their younger years, despite reduced physical
capabilities that come with age, which are sometimes hard to admit.
In addition, certain medical conditions and medications may affect
a person's physical ability or mental capacity.
Seniors pose a high drowning risk in bathtubs and provate
Important tips and reminders for older adults:
- Boat with a buddy, never alone.
- Wear a lifejacket when boating.
- Be realistic about encroaching health limitations. Know your
heart health through regular check-ups and don't take more risks
any more in, on or near the water.
- Understand the possible effects of any medication you may be
taking on your swimming ability or endurance, and be especially
careful to avoid combining any medications with alcohol and water
- Take care getting in and out of bathtubs. Install grab-bars
designed for weight-bearing to aid entry and exit movement in your
bathtub. Have someone close enough to hear you and respond should
you have a problem.
- Always wear your lifejacket or PFD and avoid high-risk
cold-water situations - especially alone or after dark. You may
become more sensitive and less resistant to cold as you get older
so take precautions to avoid exposure to the effects of cold water
- Clear, hard, new ice is the only kind of ice recommended for
travel. Avoid slushy ice, ice on moving water (rivers, currents),
or ice that has thawed and refrozen. Wear a thermal protection
buoyant suit to increase your chance of survival if you go
Learn to Swim
Basic swimming ability is a fundamental requirement in any
meaningful attempt to eliminate drowning in Canada. The Lifesaving
Society offers training programs from learn-to-swim through advanced lifesaving, lifeguarding and leadership.
Our Swim for
Life program stresses lots of in-water practice to develop
solid swimming strokes and skills. We incorporate valuable Water
Smart® education that will last a lifetime.
Survive is a Lifesaving Society survival training program. Swim
to Survive is not a subsititute for swimming lessons; instead, it defines the
minimum skills needed to survive an unexpected fall into deep
water. People of all ages should be able to perform the Society's
Swim to Survive standard.