Fulfilled living in later life
Making a splash for our Hummingbirds

Friday 24th May 2024

Making a splash for our Hummingbirds

As part of The Pilgrimage, Archie, 9, and Teddy, 8, have set themselves the challenge of swimming 2km in their local pool in North London by the end of June. We caught up with their mum Jenny to find out all about it

How did your boys’ challenge for The Pilgrimage come about?
I only really started learning about dementia last year when I started working for Pilgrims' Friend Society [Jenny looks after our social media channels]. It's been a big learning curve for all of us. It's made me realise how important the work is that the Hummingbirds do, and I knew I wanted us as a family to get involved with The Pilgrimage this year.

Why did they choose to do a swimming challenge?
We chose swimming as we live very close to the pool, and the boys are learning to swim and love the water! It's also very measurable, and easy for them to see their progress and add up the lengths they've done.

How have you helped Archie and Teddy to understand dementia?
It's been really interesting teaching them about dementia, trying to find age-appropriate materials and words to explain it. We found some good videos on YouTube and we've talked about it a lot. I think Archie understands a bit more than Teddy does, he's that bit older.

We also went to visit Milward House care home in Tunbridge Wells to meet some of the family members living with dementia.

Pilgrims Friend Archie Teddy The Pilgrimage

What did you do during the visit?
Susan, the Activities and Community Engagement (ACE) Facilitator there, really looked after us, helping the boys to get involved, and explaining a bit more about how to interact with the family members. Archie played football with an 100-year-old lady, Evelyn, and Teddy got rather attached to a lovely lady called Rachel, who he played a game of balancing wooden blocks and toys with and did lots of target practice with beanbags!

Pilgrims Friend Arhchie Teddy Milward House The Pilgrimage
Pilgrims Friend Arhchie Teddy Milward House The Pilgrimage2
Pilgrims Friend Milward House Teddy The Pilgrimage

What do you think Archie and Teddy will take away from the visit?
They’ve been able to see how different people need different care – some need much more physical care and need help moving around, whilst others need someone with them, talking to them and calming them down if they are distressed or don't understand what's happening.

Before our visit I don't think they could really understand what a Hummingbird does, but now they've been in that environment and met lots of family members and carers, they are really keen to raise money, and understand that people living with dementia do need care and support.

How is the swimming challenge going so far?
It's going well! Archie has already surpassed his goal of 1km, and has now done 73 lengths, which is nearly 2km! Teddy has done 20 lengths so far, so he's halfway. We're taking them swimming a bit in half term which is coming up, so hopefully we'll get a few more lengths done then too.

They get so excited when people sponsor them, and it really encourages them to keep going, and to remember why they're doing it. We talk about Milward House and the people there, to keep it fresh in their minds, and they're both really keen to go back. Teddy was asking later that same day and then every day for a week when we were going back again!

To sponsor Archie and Teddy in their challenge, visit:

@pilgrimsfriendsociety These guys went to visit one of our care homes with their mum today, to meet everyone, and learn more about living with dementia. The Hummingbirds are our dementia care workers, and these boys are raising money for them by swimming lengths of their local pool! If you want to sponsor them, please head to https://www.stewardship.org.uk/pages/BakerBoyspilgrimage #thepilgrimage #fundraisingcampaign #christiancarehome #ukcarehomes #carehome #carehomeactivity ♬ Walking Around - Instrumental Version - Eldar Kedem

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