Care Worker prescribes Vitamin Sea for Dementia

Published: 25/09/2020

Bluebird Care’s Frances Lewis shares an account of her journey on the Exe Estuary with her customer Jim who has Dementia

Frances joined Bluebird Care as a Live-in Carer after being a dedicated Yoga teacher for twenty years. Frances cares for customer Jim in his home as a live-in carer. After discovering his love for sailing, she decided to help him to relive his life on the sea by organising a boat trip on the Exe Estuary.


Frances says: “One of the things that gives me a great deal of fulfilment in my role as a live-in carer is discovering what the person I am caring for was like before the crippling stroke or the dementia diagnosis. What did the person enjoy doing for a hobby? What does the person value at a deep level? What were their main interests in life?”


She continues: “Then I aim to look for ways that I can support the person to be who they were before old age and frailty made life a bit more challenging.”


Frances, who isolated with Jim during the lockdown, has been doing what she can to help him reconnect with his love of the sea. Jim, who has a deep love of the ocean and was - in his youth - a passionate sailor, has Dementia.


Frances explains: “He enjoyed taking family members sailing to France, travelling in and out of Exmouth estuary regularly. He has many friends who enjoy sailing, and he is familiar with the whole world of navigation, boatyards, the ways of the open sea, and the rules and regulations of harbours.”


Sadly, due to suffering from occasional moments of confusion and disorientation, which is why he has a Live-in Carer to support him, Jim is unable to own a boat of his own. However, Jim is still just as passionate as he ever was about the sea and sailing, which is why Frances has been doing everything that she can to help him to feel closer to the sea.


Wanting to help Jim to reconnect with his love of the ocean on a more personal level, Frances recently organised to take Jim on a boat trip on the Exmouth to Starcross ferry.


Frances explains: “Jim seems to enjoy nothing better than sitting by the side of the ocean or the estuary and watching the waves, the tides coming and going and the clouds and the birds. Sometimes we chat about what we can see, and sometimes we sit and enjoy the view together in silence.”


Jim thoroughly enjoyed being out at sea again, and Frances loved being able to help him relieve his time sailing, allowing him to reconnect with many of his old memories and experiences.


When providing care to customers like Jim, Frances finds that outings linked to an interest or passion can be a fantastic way of stimulating happy memories and boosting mental wellbeing.


She explains: “All of these trips and all of the times by the water’s edge stimulate memories for Jim of his time with his boat; he seems to become more confident and sure of his place in the world. Being near the water seems to bring a sense of calm and an expansion of possibilities for Jim.”