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National Swimming Pool Day: Resident Living With Dementia Takes The Plunge!

A woman living with dementia has rekindled her love of swimming, thanks to staff at her Surbiton care home and at a local leisure centre.

Isobel Porter is supported by staff at Royal Star & Garter to visit the Malden Centre, where she enjoys swimming and exercising in the leisure complex’s main pool.

The 81-year-old was joined in the water by husband Jeremy, Royal Star & Garter Physiotherapist Annette Millard, and Wellbeing Coordinator Lesley O’Driscoll, for her first session in May. A carer also watched on from the poolside.

Since her first visit to the pool with Royal Star & Garter, Isobel has returned several times with staff, gaining confidence and stamina in the water, swimming short distances and doing aqua aerobic exercises.

The Home is also hoping to extend the sessions for the benefit of other residents.

Speaking ahead of National Swimming Pool Day on 11 July, husband Jeremy praised the impact the sessions were having on Isobel: “My wife has always been happy in the pool, and recently she had gone to deep-water aqua classes. She was discussing this with Lesley, so the Home contacted the Malden Centre and they arranged it between them. She loves the sessions and keeps asking when she can go back. You can see it is very positive for her demeanour and it lifts her, she’s happier afterwards. I could see how much she was enjoying herself. She does exercises in the pool, and she’s getting stronger and more confident in the water with every session.”

Lesley said: “Once we knew about Isobel’s love of the water, I spoke to our Physiotherapist Annette and we thought it would be great if we could get her back in a pool.” They searched for a suitable venue nearby, complete with a poolside hoist, and found the Malden Centre. They contacted the leisure complex and carried out a thorough risk assessment. Staff at the Malden Centre helped arrange the visit and suggested the best time for Isobel to take the plunge.

Marie O’Loughlin is the Malden Centre Manager. She said: “The smile on Isobel’s face when she comes in and swims is incredible, it’s genuinely heart-warming to see. I’m so happy we are able to accommodate her and welcome her to the Malden Centre.”











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