In the swimming pool

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“Maria Elena, shall we try it without an (inflatable) pillow?” We are in the pool for our weekly fun and exercises. Marie Elena has made great progress in the pool in the two years she has been with us. When she came she was afraid to go into the water. So we started in the toddler pool and encouraged her to go deeper into the water a step at the time. We told her: ‘You can do it’.

Once she’d mastered walking into the water we tried to teach her to float on her back, a next step in being relaxed in the water. Of course we started with well-padded bands on each arm and a fully inflated pillow under her head. Gradually she was able to float for longer distances, propelled by the pendulum swing of her arms. The armbands are now so damaged that they can only be inflated for 25%. But hey presto, no problem for Maria Elena. Next challenge: float without the pillow under her head. When we then asked her to also discard the armbands, she looked a little scared at first, but she went for it! And sure enough, she succeeded floating for nearly two minutes totally by herself. That was three weeks ago. She has now reached the point where she can easily float up and down the pool 8 times! It makes her feel very proud!  

Who learns from whom? In April Jennyfer joined our team. Working in the Community Home is a totally new experience for her, and so are the weekly trips to the pool. She only dared to go into the pool with head above water and her feet firmly grounded to the swimming pool floor. So she was no use to me as a pool attendant! But she picked up quickly. Soon she was confident enough to be in deep water. Her next challenge was to learn to float. If Maria Elena can float, surely she could too?! It’s fun to see how that works. Maria Elena progressed faster in her floating than Jennyfer, because Jennyfer thinks too much and her fear often overtakes her confidence. Jennyfer learns from Maria Elena which makes Maria Elena feel extra motivated, of course.


The next challenge for Maria Elena is to learn from Manuel how to propel herself forward with a floating board and strong kicking movement; this is Manuel’s speciality! And vice versa, Manuel is now going to learn to float like Maria Elena. It is great combination of fun with useful exercises in terms of muscle strength, self-esteem and endurance, and seeing home care assistants and core members motivating each other!