Harry Wise’s wife, Moira, ensures that her husband attends the weekly swims.
The couple from the Louth area, who have been married for 45 years, faced an emotional and physical battle when Harry developed Parkinson’s disease, followed by the onset of dementia three years ago – the two conditions together are known as lewy body dementia.
Harry benefits from the weightless, water-based exercise sessions at the Meridian, which are run by Magna Vitae with support from the Rotary Club of Louth.
Moira said: “For Harry, this offers him a chance to be independent in the water, with the opportunity to stand by himself and move.
It is not just the exercise that is beneficial – but the social side too. Before the sessions, Harry would not want to eat out in public, but now he is happy to do so.
During his career as a military police officer, Harry was engaged in some of the most serious and complex cases with both the Army and the RAF, travelling across the world – and he always made time to play sports.
Moira said: “Being able to see him have freedom of movement again is wonderful.”
The sessions, which are taken by professional instructor Mags Hutchings and supervised by volunteer Vanessa Pilny, are open to all those living with dementia and their carers – who can also swim if they wish.
Louth Rotary President Bill Wood and chair of community and vocation Dianna Broadmeadow visited one of the recent sessions.
Dianna said: “As an organisation, we are committed to helping such projects and it is wonderful to see the people here enjoying both the pool and the social side of things afterwards.”
• The swim sessions are available every Monday. Meet in the leisure centre’s café and reception area from 11.40am, for a noon start.