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Incredible 80-Year-Old Resident Returns to the Alps to Ski Despite Dementia and Impaired Mobility

Jean Bayley, an 80-year-old resident at local care home Sunrise of Westbourne, was able to go skiing with her family for a second year running, despite major hip surgery and a diagnosis of dementia.

Last year, as part of Sunrise of Westbourne’s Anticipation Club that encourages residents to try a new hobby or skill, residents were invited to write their wish on a piece of paper. Jean wrote that it was her wish to ski once again despite severely impaired mobility from a hip fracture and the subsequent surgery. Incredibly, with the support of her family and the help of care staff at Sunrise of Westbourne, Jean did manage to go skiing with her family last year.

Jean has always loved to ski, she used to regularly visit the resort of Chatel in the French Alps with her family, where she played a huge role in helping her grandchildren to learn to ski. This year, ‘Handi Ski’ was hired alongside an experienced ski guide to ensure Jean was safe and happy on the ski slopes. Jeans family skied beside her, and with a paramedic, orthopaedic surgeon and trained carers in her family, Jean could confidently ski knowing she was in good hands.

Jean’s family have thanked the dedicated support of the care team at Sunrise of Westbourne for helping to maintain her mobility through specialist daily exercises. Jean does live with dementia, but it certainly hasn’t stopped her from pursuing her favourite hobby.

Neil Bayley, Jean’s Eldest son, said:

“Family and skiing are two of the most important things for Mum. Being able to take her skiing yet again, despite her having falls earlier in the year is true testament to the amazing care at Sunrise of Westbourne. They truly are outstanding; Mum is even planning next year!”

Jean initially moved to Sunrise of Westbourne two years ago, as she needed some extra help following her hip surgery and she only ever intended to stay until she was mobile enough to take the stairs again. However, once she managed this, Jean was enjoying daily activities, mini bus outings and the dining team so much she decided to stay living at Sunrise of Westbourne as the home offered her everything she wanted.

Wendy Blow, Senior Director of Community Relations at Sunrise of Westbourne, added:

“Jean is so determined and positive, and with her family’s support and help from the care staff at Sunrise of Westbourne, it is incredible she has been able to continue doing something she loves so much.

“Last year, we were delighted to help Jean in making her wish come true, and to see her now skiing for a second time despite all she has faced is truly inspiring.

“We love to encourage all residents to find ways to continue living life in the way they find the most fulfilling. Jean just proves that everyone can follow their dreams no matter how out of reach they may seem.”