Swimming for dementia: An exploratory qualitative study: Innovative practice
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Swimming is a non-weight bearing form of exercise that can be enjoyable and promote physical fitness. This qualitative study investigated a local group established as part of a national dementia swimming initiative. Semi-structured interviews with people with dementia (N = 4), carers of companions (N = 4) and the organisers and facilitators of the group (N = 6) were analysed using thematic analysis. This revealed four main themes: (1) the pleasure of swimming and its benefits as a form of exercise and for building confidence and empowering participants, (2) the importance of insight and empathy in creating a safe and secure experience, (3) the impact of dementia and (4) how participants valued being part of a group 'all in the same boat'. 'Dementia friendly swimming' appears to be a valuable form of exercise, but it requires considerable preparation and support to make it happen.