Residents from Water Mill House Care Home enjoyed a day of pirate-themed fun aboard a canal boat cruising through Kings Langley.
Members of the team dressed in full pirate costume for the voyage. The motley crew of residents were in high spirits, wearing pirate hats and eye patches, as they waved their cutlasses and shouted ‘ahoy’ at passers-by.
The nursing home, located on Rose Lane in Hemel Hempstead, offers nursing, dementia, residential and end of life care, run by a team of dementia and palliative care specialists.
Lifestyle coordinator Sue Care organised the trip. She said: “Life at the care home is not all knitting and bingo, though we do that too! The canal trips are organised three times a year, but for this one we decided that a pirate-theme would add to the fun.
“The residents loved the interaction it generated with the local community, as lots of people walking along the canal or over the bridges stopped to wave and say hello.
“We passed a boatload of school children moored at the side of the canal, who all cheered as we sailed by, which made everyone smile.”
The four-hour round trip ‘set sail’ from Nash Mills to Hunton Bridge, where everyone enjoyed the spoils of their booty – a fish and chip lunch delivered to the boat by a local chip shop – before returning home.
Dorothy Knight, aged 98, attends Water Mill House for day care once a week and took part in the excursion while on a fortnight’s respite care.
She said: “It was my first time on a canal boat, so it’s lovely to still be able to experience new things at my age! I very much enjoyed the day out, especially sitting at the front of the boat eating my fish and chips and waving at passers-by.
“I love the social side of being at the care home, I always join in as much as I can with everything going on.”
Victoria Forsythe, manager at the dementia specialist nursing home, said: “We encourage our residents, many of whom are living with dementia, to live in the moment.
“The social interaction with each other, members of our team, and the local community is so important for their wellbeing. Plus, getting outdoors and taking in the fresh air has great health benefits.
“The pirate-theme and the reactions from people walking by generated a lot of laughter and boosted everyone’s mood.”
The care home’s next canal trip is organised for December and both residents and members of the team will be getting into the festive spirit.
“Expect a few elves and maybe even Father Christmas to make an appearance on the waterways!” added Victoria.