Life Saving Victoria’s Multicultural Department has created a water safety and recreation program for Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) seniors.
“Australians aged 55 and over make up a large proportion of the drowning statistics in Australia and as the population is ageing this continues to increase,” says David Holland – LSV Manager Multicultural Projects.
“The Seniors’ Water Recreation Program (SWRP) is aimed at improving participants’ health, social wellbeing, water awareness, and overall settlement, in response to this rise in drowning incidents.”
“While the program is about water safety, it is crucially focused on encouraging socialisation among Victoria’s senior CALD population, to prevent isolation and promote active ageing.”
Based on Royal Life Saving Society – Australia’s Grey Medallion program, Life Saving Victoria’s SWRP is a modified four-week course that is tailored to CALD audiences with little to no water safety knowledge.
“I never thought about swimming, then one day at the local community centre where I learn English an opportunity came up and someone said, would I like to take part,” says Connie Cardaciotto, a recent program participant at BayFit in north Altona.
“I had no confidence, and I just panic even to see the water. After the program, if the water is not deep I can walk, and I feel more confident now – and I would do the program again.”
A course is currently underway at BayFit Leisure Centre in Altona North, with eleven other programs delivered by LSV’s multicultural team to 162 participants at aquatic centres across Melbourne since 2016.
“Participants don’t necessarily learn to swim completely, but they are in the water. It’s about embedding water safety principles such as: prevention, rescues, safe entries, supervision, survival skills and basic CPR,” says Mr Holland.
“It’s not about turning participants into aquatic experts, but rather improving their confidence and ability around water, so they can keep themselves and their loved-ones safe,” says Mr Holland.
To find out more, or request to take part in a program, please click here.