Water therapy is doing wonders for 20 senior citizens in the East End district.
Every Thursday morning at the break of dawn, the seniors gather at the Morritt’s Cayman Islands Resort pool for some low-impact water exercises and free breakfast.
East End Development Officer Delmira Kirchman-Bodden started the hour-long water sessions for seniors four weeks ago as a way for older people to stay active and mobile.
“Water therapy is very effective. It’s easy on the seniors; they need active exercise or they are going to seize up on us,” said Ms. Kirchman-Bodden. “Normally we find seniors only get some form of exercise and therapy when they get an injury,” she said.
She said it is the Caymanian culture to go sea bathing. “People went sea bathing to strengthen their legs and ease the pains, as well as socialize. Getting the seniors back in the water makes the impact of exercise easier for them than walking on the streets. It cushions them and is not as hard to do,” she added.
Pamela Dixon, 76, said she was almost bed-ridden before she started going in the water, Trevor Watler, 82, says he feels more energetic.
“I wish I could get in it every day,” said Ms. Dixon, a former store clerk. She said she fully recognizes the strength and importance of her connection with the water. For her, time spent in the pool or sea means temporary relief from stiffness of the joints, which enables her to do much more.
“Before I started the program four weeks ago, I could not lift my arms very high … I can lift them a lot higher now … I can even walk much better without the stick and everything now,” she said.
The group, composed entirely of seniors ranging in age from their early 60s to upper 90s, sees the water therapy as a way to mingle and to get some healing power. They find the water therapy relieves ailments such as arthritis, circulatory stiffness and other chronic illnesses.
Although the pool is a nice alternative, the seniors say they prefer the sea. “It’s better than the pool,” said Nadine McLean, who was also working out in the pool Thursday.
“We started off in the sea … It’s only because of all the seaweed out there that we can’t go in the sea,” said Janice Welcome, who provides bus transportation to the seniors free of cost.
“They need to clear the sea, so the seniors can get back in the salt water,” said Mr. Watler.
Vernie Watler-Harris is volunteering her services as water aerobics instructor. She teaches the seniors how to preform leg and arm lifts, squats, rolls, water waves, floating and laps around the pool.
The group also has a safety team, consisting of EMT Kendal Connor and RCIPS officers Davis Scott and Darren Kirchman.