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Going at a slower pace – Shelagh’s story

Resident story

Shelagh was diagnosed with dementia in 2012, and her story shows that sometimes choosing a slower pace of life can lead to more outdoor adventures for carers and their loved ones.

Shelagh Mary Moorhouse is a published author, a radiographer, and a well-known activist and animal lover.  Having been diagnosed with dementia in 2012, Shelagh moved to her new home at Priors House in Leamington Spa in 2014 and, although she now opts for a slower pace of life, she still takes part in a wide array of hobbies and activities and she particularly enjoys spending time in the great outdoors.

Born on 15 January 1932 in Rochdale, Shelagh grew up living on Pitts Farm with her parents, John and Mary Ford, along with her older brother, Brian.  Shelagh went on to live in Notting Hill and she married twice.  After being widowed she was reunited with her first husband, David Taylor, a well-known TV personality and ‘zoo vet’.  She has two daughters – Stephanie, who lives in Notting Hill, and Lindsey, who lives in Leamington Spa.

A keen animal lover, Shelagh was one of a band of activists that protested against the then Mayor of London Ken Livingston’s decision to ban the feeding of pigeons in Trafalgar Square in 2011. She was written about in the New York Times for wheeling a large suitcase full of corn into the Square and then feeding the pigeons despite the ban!

Shelagh enjoyed a successful career as a radiographer, working at one of the largest Cancer treatment centres in Europe, the Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust in Manchester.  She is also an author, with one of her stories published in the book: Rites of Spring: New Writing from London (2000).

Jon Sneath, activities coordinator at Priors House, said “While Shelagh may now have a slower pace of life, she certainly continues to enjoy many outdoor activities, including gardening.  With the weather now improving as we move into the warmer months, Shelagh loves helping with the planting and tending to the gardens here at Priors House.

“This is an important activity for Shelagh, not least because she can approach it at her own pace without too many challenges or choices to make.  It’s a rewarding physical endeavour which enables Shelagh to feel the sun on her face and to experience the changing of the seasons – this in itself can give a reassuring sense of time and place for those living with dementia.  While gardening chores are great for their simplicity and quiet nature, for Shelagh there are huge benefits of regularly getting involved and indulging in her hobby.”


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