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Cantabrians with dementia benefit from new aquatic movement group

24/02/2016 - General News

For people living with dementia, the opportunity to continue to lead fulfilling, purposeful and socially-enriched lives can make all the difference to those touched by the often misunderstood illness.

Alzheimers Canterbury supports people affected by dementia, helping them to live well and offering free services including social work, carer support groups, an extensive social programme, volunteer services, community education, and therapeutic and activity groups.   

When they applied for Z’s Good in the Hood community initiative in 2015, the group were hoping to add an aquatic movement group to the activities programme they deliver to local people affected by dementia.   

“Activity in water not only improves the functional capacity of people with dementia but also has significant effects on other aspects of quality of life such as sleep, appetite, behavioral and psychological symptoms, depression, and falls. Additionally, exercise can improve a person's overall sense of well-being and positively enhance their sociability,” says Alzheimer’s Canterbury spokesperson Annelies Basten.

As a result of the more than $1,200 of community support they received through Good in the Hood, Alzheimer’s Canterbury’s dream of having an aquatic group for people with dementia has become a reality.

“Thanks to Good in the Hood, we have been able to launch two Watermemories groups in not one but two different Canterbury locations – Rangiora’s Dudley and Christchurch’s Wharenui swimming pools.”

“The $1,246 donation from Good in the Hood 2015 was used to cover transport, phone calls (reminder calls to clients and management of the project) and pool fees, and we’re incredibly grateful to Z for Good in the Hood and the support it has given us in getting Watermemories off the ground.”

According to Ms. Basten, the groups are very popular, and a huge number of clients are keen to attend weekly.

“It’s a real buzz to see how many people enjoy the social connection and fun of being in the pool together. The activity has a number of benefits, too, from reminding them of positive times spent in the water before their illness to ensuring social connectedness, purposeful activity and exercise in the present.”

The Watermemories groups have also contributed to the quality of life for the full-time care partners who enjoy a few hours to themselves, providing a very welcome break for the care partners.