How stroke survivor Val is still able to enjoy her love of swimming

When Val Wren suffered a stroke and moved into a care home, she thought her swimming days were over.

But her love of the water has been reignited thanks to staff at Sanctuary Care’s Regent Residential Care Home in Worcester.

Val told staff how she’d had a passion for swimming since she was a child when she moved into the home last year.

She said: “Swimming is something I have enjoyed for years and years – it makes me feel smashing.

“But after my stroke, I thought I would never get there again.”

Senior care assistant Karen Turner wanted to help Val reignite her hobby so dedicated an afternoon every fortnight on her day off to take Val swimming.

And the benefits are clear to see as soon as she gets into the pool at Perdiswell Leisure Centre.

As she is lowered into the water using specialist equipment, Val shouts: “Oh, it’s lovely.

“I never want to get out – it’s brilliant.”

One of best forms of rehabilitation

Val paddles on her back and Karen said: “She doesn’t stop smiling and laughing the whole time she is swimming.

“She absolutely loves it – it’s such a boost for her. She is so relaxed when she is in the water and would stay all day if she could.

“The joy Val experiences highlights the social and emotional benefits of water exercises, as well as the obvious physical health benefits of exercise.

“And her poorly knee always feels better after a swim.”

Andrew Power, Swim England health and wellbeing manager, said: Stories like Val’s are by no means a one off.”

Research has shown that swimming can help reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, while exercising in water is one of the best forms of rehabilitation.

Andrew added: “After having a stroke, people can experience muscle weakness and loss of limb control which affects their ability to perform even the most basic of activities.

“Therefore, exercise in the water is probably one of the best forms of rehabilitation in this sense.

“Water reduces the strain on muscles and joints due to its buoyancy effect and is a safe place to practice activities that perhaps would carry a greater risk when performed on land.

“It gradually improves strength and balance as well as having health enhancing cardiovascular benefits gained from any movement that raises the heart rate within an individual’s comfortable range.

“We’re delighted to hear that Val is enjoying the benefits of swimming and wish her well in her recovery.”