Passionate skier, Neil, returns to the slopes thanks to Alderwood Care Home

Passionate skier, Neil, returns to the slopes thanks to Alderwood Care Home zoom

Neil Kirk was a passionate skier until he suffered a stroke 12 years ago. Thanks to the team, Neil hit the slopes at the Snow Centre in Hemel Hempstead on his 86th birthday.

Our vibrant 65-bed home became Neil’s home in March this year and their person-centred approach meant he got a birthday to remember.

Before his health declined, Neil loved to go on ski holidays, but has not participated in the sport since the stroke greatly affected his health and physical abilities.

Our home, rated ‘Outstanding’ by the Care Quality Commission, arranged for Neil to celebrate his birthday in style, with a 90-minute ski lesson with Disability Snowsports UK (DSUK).

“I loved every minute,” said Neil, “what a way to spend my birthday!”

Home manager Nicola Leaney said: “Alderwood is a resident-first care home, so we tailor our care to the bespoke needs and interests of each of our residents.

“We’re really passionate about ensuring our residents can maintain their hobbies but also that they get to enjoy new experiences with us. We have residents with a variety of needs ranging from physical assistance to end of life care and for all our residents we want their days with us to be as special as possible.

“Even in his 60s and 70s, Neil remained physically active and was an enthusiastic skier. Since making Alderwood his home earlier this year, his health has improved to a stable level, and his wife Michelle believes he is much happier and more content.

“We were keen to reintroduce a pastime into Neil’s life that he had once loved so much.

“The excitement and pure exhilaration on Neil’s face was a joy to see, and we are already planning his next ski lesson. In fact, we aim to widen the experience and give other residents an opportunity to ski, for some it will be their very first time on the slopes!”

The specialist instructor from DSUK, James Sterry, worked with Neil using tailored equipment to find the best way to get him back on the slopes.

James explained: “It was great to ski with Neil and give him the opportunity to enjoy Snowsports again. We skied in one of our sit skis which meant I was in control, but Neil was still able to influence the skiing.

“We hope to see him again and look forward to meeting some of the care home’s other residents very soon.”