Older Adults Research

Older Adults Research

For the last ten years the older adult age group of 65 plus years has consistently been in the top three age groups most at risk of drowning in New Zealand. Preventable fatal drownings in the over 65+ year age group doubled from 8 in 2016 to 16 in 2017, comprising 16% of all drowning for the last five years (2017 WSNZ Drowning Prevention Report, 2018). In addition, the 45 – 64 year age group comprise a further one fifth, (21%) of all drowning for the period 2013 – 2017.

Despite this age group being at high risk of drowning, there are no specific water safety interventions targeting older adults. Little is known about the aquatic behaviours of older adults, what they participate in, or how often, how they perceive their risk in relation to their practices and their ability to keep themselves safe.

Research Project Underway

Water Safety New Zealand has granted funding to DPA to complete a research project to measure perceptions of water competencies and risks of drowning of older adults, and the aquatic recreation they participate, to inform the development of water safety education programmes for older adults.

The research and report will be completed by July 2019.