Exmouth beach wheelchairs persuades pensioner with dementia to take his first trip outside in ten years

Beach wheelchairs and the golden mile at Exmouth persuaded a pensioner to venture outside for the first time in 10 years.

Care home resident Edward Perryman, in his 80s, took his first trip outside in a decade, after he learned about the beach wheelchairs on Exmouth seafront.

Carers at The Old Rectory, in Exeter, said Edward had spent years living in his bedroom before moving to the care home, was ‘reluctant’ to go out, but had been ‘empowered’ to visit Exmouth thanks to the beach wheelchairs.

The care home said it had been a ‘momentous moment’ to see Edward on the sand in a beach wheelchair, watching the waves crashing on the shore, then enjoying an ice cream on the seafront.


Pictured here (with Andy Cowling) is Edward Perryman watching the waves, outside for the first time in a decade.
Photo: with permission.

Andy Cowling, housekeeper at the care home, said: “Before Edward came into the care home, he’d been in a bedroom in his house in Exeter for eight years.

“He was very reluctant to go out because he hadn’t been out in such a long time.”

He added: “It’s taken us a long time to encourage Edward to come out, but we’ve been able to do it.

“We kept offering to take him out and we found something he wanted to do – a trip to the beach.”

Former mechanic Edward, who is living with dementia, moved permanently to the care home in August 2022 after settling in during a respite stay.

Accompanied on his beach vist by another resident and care staff, Edward asked to sit and watch the waves

Tom Matthews, who arranged the trip out, said: “It’s just amazing for the residents to do something that they did back in the day with their children, with their families. It’s great for them to have a bit of normality in their life again.

“Edward hadn’t been out in so long and you could see how content he was.”

He added: “When we got back to the care home, Edward said how much he had enjoyed the trip and, being a gentleman, he asked Andy how much he owed him for it.”


The care home said it had been a ‘momentous moment’ to see Edward on the sand in a beach wheelchair.
Photo: with permission.

Councillor Pauline Stott, who campaigned for the town to offer beach wheelchairs, said: “I am so pleased that care homes have started using the wheelchairs now.

“My ambition with this project has always been to enable as many people as possible to go to the beach with their families and friends, regardless of disability.”

The all-terrain wheelchairs, led by Exmouth Town Council, can be hired free of charge from a unit on Queen’s Drive.

  • For more information, and how to book, see here.

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