Olive Rouse was born on 15 October 1926 in Hunningham, Leamington Spa and she continued to live in the village for many decades – later moving to a beautiful cottage, where she enjoyed many hours tending and nurturing her cottage garden. In fact, Olive has led rather an ‘outdoors’ active lifestyle and for 18 years she cycled the eight mile round trip to Coventry Airport almost every day, where she worked as an administration officer.
After being diagnosed with vascular dementia just two years ago, Olive remained in her cottage for several months, with help from visiting carers. Then on 29 September 2014 she moved into her new home at Priors House care home in Leamington Spa. At Priors House, Olive is supported to keep up her active, independent lifestyle and to continue to enjoy many of her outdoor hobbies, including gardening and watching cricket. A former member of a church choir, Olive also continues to regularly attend church.
Jon Sneath, activities coordinator at Priors House, said: “Olive is quite an inspiration. Though occasionally disorientated, outdoor activities play an important part in her continuing to live a fulfilled life. For Olive, this doesn’t have to mean a big day out – a walk in the park or a trip to the local coffee shop can be the perfect change of scenery and she thoroughly enjoys retelling her experiences to other residents over a cuppa afterwards.
“Visiting places Olive has been before, such as Jephson Gardens in Leamington Spa or to her local church, can spark happy memories, which can of course be immensely therapeutic for those living with dementia. We always take Olive’s lead and keep activities small and manageable, but then on any given day she may well feel like taking a longer route around the park and we support in any way we can, so that she can do whatever makes her happy.”