Fulfilled living in later life

Friday 22nd March 2024

The Pilgrimage - Ruth's 30-mile April Challenge

As part of The Pilgrimage this April, Ruth Mockler, our Activities and Community Engagement (ACE) Facilitator at Luff House in Walton-on-the-Naze, is a doing a ‘30 miles over 30 days’ sponsored walk. She’ll take out a different family member each time, with funds raised going towards the work of our Hummingbirds and activities in the home. We caught up with Ruth to find out about the inspiration behind her Pilgrimage

I wanted to do something that would raise money for the home that our family members could be involved with too. We have done a craft fair in the past but essentially that’s me doing all the work. The family members can visit and have a look round, which is nice, but quite limited. As part of The Way We Care at Pilgrims’ Friend Society we focus on doing things with people rather than to them, and so a sponsored walk that our family members could be involved with seemed a good fit. Lots of our family members love going out and they are really excited to join me.

Luff House is on an estate which has lots of lovely grassy areas with flowers and nice footpaths that are ideal for us to walk on. I’m aiming to do a mile a day – some of our family members who are mobile will easily manage that on foot. Others I can take out in a wheelchair.

Being out in the fresh air can make you feel so much better. There’s something exhilarating about feeling the sun on your face and the breeze against your cheek and I wanted our family members to experience that too. Looking at all the trees and flowers in bloom is also a wonderful reminder of God and all the beautiful things He has created. I’m sure we’ll find lots of things to look at and talk about as we go.

There’s always the possibility that it won’t be great weather... April is famous for its showers. If it’s too rainy one day, I’ll have to make up the distance another day.

Pilgrims Friend Luff House Ruth and Gillian

On some of the outings a special four-legged friend will be joining us... I have a Staffordshire/Collie cross called Dudley. In our home we have lots of dog lovers and so they are excited about the prospect of going for a walk with him. He’s a bit bouncy and boisterous, so I’ll only be taking him on outings where the family member is in a wheelchair. There’s one lady living with us who doesn’t often join in with activities but who loves it when the therapy dog comes in. She’s especially looking forward to going for a walk out with Dudley.

Pilgrims Friend Luff House Dudley1

We’ll put the money raised towards our activities fund, with a focus on buying materials to support those in the home living with dementia. Many of those living with dementia don’t engage so well with large group activities, but they really benefit from one-to-one interactions with our Hummingbirds. I’m looking into materials we can buy that will lend themselves to that – some dementia-friendly games or puzzles, or something multi-sensory that will prompt reminiscing.

It’s so important for those with dementia to be around people and stimulus. We have one lady, Gillian, who recently came to live with us. Previously she was living on her own in supported accommodation. She had carers coming in every day and there were community areas but she was spending too much time on her own. She has only been living with us for a couple of months but her daughter has seen a big change her, and we have too. At first she was very nervous about taking part in activities. She’d say things like ‘I can‘t do that’ and ‘I don‘t know how to do that’. Now she’s talking so much more and she wants to join in with activities all the time. It’s been wonderful to see her regain her confidence.

To find out how Ruth and her companions are getting on with their Pilgrimage, keep an eye out for updates on the Luff House Facebook page.

And if you’d like to a make a donation to this very valuable cause, head on over to Ruth’s fundraising page on Stewardship!

More about The Pilgrimage