Shirley steps to dementia awareness

Shirley takes steps for dementia awareness with residents

Walking for Dementia brings joy at Lilian Faithfull Care

Shirley Turner who works at Gloucestershire charity Lilian Faithfull Care has been inspired to take part in Dementia UK’s challenge for Feb to walk 1k a day but she is doing it with a difference.

Each day Shirley is inviting a resident of Faithfull House to join her for her walk, particularly those who are living with dementia themselves.

Shirley now works as Faithfull House’s Administrator but she has also been a senior carer in the specialist dementia floor in Faithfull House, the Bluebell Suite. Shirley explains how she had a light bulb moment of inviting a resident to go with her, rather than doing the challenge on her own;

“On first of February I donned my hat from Dementia UK. When walking round the home to get my steps in I looked in to have a chat for the residents in Bluebell Suite and told them what I was doing. One of the residents said ‘I’d love to go out for a walk with you but I can’t walk very far.’  I said, ‘that’s absolutely fine’ and we used a wheelchair and went for a walk round the park.  It was particularly nice as she does get anxious and sometimes it can be hard to encourage her out.  Afterwards she was so grateful and said how much better she felt.  I relayed it all to the home manager and we agreed, ‘Right, that’s what we’ll do, we’ll do a walk every day with a resident.'”

“It’s literally a case of popping around the home and seeing who fancies going out for a walk as with dementia you can’t always plan things ahead.”

Shirley is either walking, strolling or taking people in a wheelchair to get her daily steps in. Shirley has different routes, adapting to the weather and people’s needs. From longer trips to Montpellier Park, Suffolk square quadrangle, within the beautiful gardens or indoors within their large Regency building.

“I took a lady out on Friday last week she wanted to stop at the shapes of the trees and to look at the shops along the promenade.  She spoke about how she liked going for long walks with her husband; these lovely people have a wealth of information with lots of memories.”

“Another day a lady was walking with purpose along the corridor and I asked her if she would like to come out for a walk. Her daughter visited her afterwards and wanted to see me, ‘I need to give you a big hug, thank you so much for taking mum out and she is really relaxed and happy’.”

Residents have really enjoyed their 121 walk with Shirley, and they’ve returned feeling refreshed and full of spirit. There are so many benefits to exercise and fresh air.

Thank you to Shirley for her passion for residents’ well being and for raising awareness of dementia and the care we provide.

Support Shirley’s challenge here: www.justgiving.com/page/shirley-turner-1704647015993

Listen to Shirley’s story featured on BBC Radio Gloucestershire’s Nicky Price morning show on BBC Sounds. Shirley’s story appears at 12:07pm, 12:14pm and again at 12:26pm. www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_radio_gloucestershire

Shirley is over half way through her challenge and will be continuing throughout February with residents of Lilian Faithfull Care joining her every step of the way.

To find out more about how Lilian Faithfull Care supports those living with dementia visit www.lilianfaithfull.co.uk