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Real life experiences

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

I have a few issues with The National Trust, but every now and then they do something right. In this instance it is the wheelchairs they make available, free-of-charge, to elderly people who visit Studland beach in Dorset.

These wheelchairs have huge ‘balloon’ tyres and can, with a little effort from family members who take it in turns, be pushed along the beach near the water’s edge where the sand is a little firmer. In this way, elderly people can enjoy all the stimulation of the actual seaside, which no ‘virtual’ experience can ever hope to emulate – the crash of the waves, the grating of the shingle, the abandoned racing around of dogs, and impromptu showers as said dogs shake themselves dry, the scents of the sea, the astringency of seaweed and, of course, the smell of wet dogs.

It’s great that frail elderly people can still experience all this, in wheelchairs with balloon tyres, pushed by a relay of helpers. It would be a logistical challenge for an activities co-ordinator in a care home but I wonder if they were to engage with local service clubs; Lions and the like who could provide volunteer support, more such real-life experiences could be provided.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

One Reply to “Real life experiences”

  1. “What would the world be, once bereft of wet and wildness? Let them be left . . .”
    But is it safe? Safe from what? Reality, imagination, beauty and sensation . . . living life. I despair when I read of yet another care home with a 1940s/50s shop/room/high street, a cinema, or a pretend beach. Living experiences and relationships, now and in the past, are what matters to people.
    35 years ago Bertram died (peacefully) in a hot bath and I got into terrible trouble as the manager of the home. I was unrepentant (as usual). Bertram used to go out to collect the first editions of the papers from Fleet Street and return at 4 a.m. He ran himself a hot bath to relax and warm up. We had insisted on supplying the baths with ordinary taps and plugs . . . and locks on the bathroom doors. Yes, Bartram was allowed to take his bath on his own; after all, he managed to travel to Fleet Street and back. He used to return in triumph, slapping the papers down on the office desk as if he had written and printed them himself. Bertram lived life and taught us all a lot.

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