Louth leisure centre hosts first ‘dementia friendly’ swimming session

Dementia-friendly swimming sessions at Meridian Leisure Centre.
Dementia-friendly swimming sessions at Meridian Leisure Centre.

The Meridian Leisure Centre in Louth hosted its first dementia-friendly swim session on Monday (February 20).

The project aims to help people living with dementia to stay active and is supported by Alzheimer’s Society, in partnership with staff at Meridian Leisure Centre, which is operated by Magna Vitae Trust for Leisure & Culture.

Staff at Meridian Leisure Centre have recently completed dementia awareness training to help them provide a supportive environment where people with dementia can enjoy a weekly swim.

Mags Hutchings, Swim Teacher at Meridian Leisure Centre said: “I worked for many years delivering care to people in their own homes and within residential care homes before re-training as a swim teacher so I’m very pleased that we are able to offer this valuable service to people in our community who are living with dementia.”

Margaret Harrod, Alzheimer’s Society Project Support Officer for Dementia Friendly Swimming, added: “Staying active is so important after a diagnosis of dementia. Research suggests that swimming can help reduce anxiety and improve the mood of people with the condition, as well as providing effective low impact exercise for people.

“We are hoping that people with dementia and carers will feel encouraged to carry on swimming in a more dementia friendly environment, rather than giving up something they enjoy. It’s also open to non-swimmers who want to learn. I’d like to say a big thank you to the two leisure centres for their commitment to the project and all of their support.”

The team from Magna Vitae, who also run the ‘Still Me’ project in partnership with Louth & District Hospice, were also present at the meet and greet session. ‘Still Me’ helps residents who are living with dementia and other life-changing conditions to live a fulfilling life through gentle exercise, singing, crafts, dancing and other activities.

• Dementia-friendly swimming sessions are available at the Meridian Leisure Centre in Wood Lane, Louth, on Mondays from 12 noon until 1pm.