Free swimming and film screenings: Geneva launches over 75s heatwave plan

Free swimming and film screenings: Geneva launches over 75s heatwave plan

After Switzerland was hit with heatwave after heatwave last summer, the city of Geneva has put forward a plan to help elderly residents cope with the scorching hot weather. Genevans over 75 years old will now be given free access to a swimming pool, cinema viewings and air-conditioned venues when the mercury rises.

New plan to cope with heatwaves in Switzerland

In a statement, the Department of Social Cohesion and Solidarity in Geneva announced that it would be expanding its heatwave programme for 2023. After near-record breaking heatwaves last year, the authorities said that they wanted to help the groups most affected by high temperatures: the homeless and the elderly. Last year's heatwaves saw multiple heatstroke-related admissions to hospitals among pensioners.

“The heat wave plan is based on the principle of contact with people aged 75 years and older, and is designed to help residents in the city inquire about the health of people. This plan also represents an opportunity to develop the local solidarity and fight against the isolation of seniors”, city officials wrote in a statement.

Elderly in Geneva to be consistently monitored during the heatwave

The scheme will be available to all residents in Geneva aged 75 or over who are not covered by the city’s Imad healthcare scheme. People will be able to register with the heatwave service from June 1, 2023 by using the free number (0800 22 55 11), although all known elderly residents will be sent a letter in the post which will invite them to join the programme.

As soon as the temperature reaches 25 degrees celsius or above for at least five consecutive days, the plan is put into action. During the heatwave, members of the scheme will be contacted regularly via mobile phone or landline as part of “personalised monitoring.”

Free swimming and movies promised for seniors in Geneva

Then, all members of the scheme will be entitled to free entry to a public swimming pool, which will be provided in the mornings - an excellent way to cool off in the summer heat. The elderly of the city will be able to use the Vernets swimming pool in the morning for as long as the heatwave continues.

Once they’ve had their fill of swimming in the morning, the scheme’s participants will be invited to a movie screening in one of three theatres: the Scala, North-South and the City. These rooms will be fully airconditioned, with authorities hoping the pictures will be an ideal way for seniors to pass the time while remaining cool and refreshed.

Participants will be able to use the scheme every day the heatwave lasts - which if last year is anything to go by, could lead to the city’s pensioners watching 14 back-to-back screenings. For more information about the scheme, and to see who is eligible, check out the official press release (in French).

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Jan studied in York and Sheffield in the UK, obtaining a master's in broadcast journalism and a bachelor's in history. He has worked as a radio DJ, TV presenter, and...

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