Dementia keep fit a class above for Thornton personal trainer

Michael Pendergast
Michael Pendergast

A Thornton personal trainer has been praised for offering free exercise classes for people suffering from dementia.

Michael Pendergast, 41, has been running the classes in a number of care homes across the Fylde coast only for a few months but has now received government funding.

He said: “I do it all in my own time and I am currently visiting four care homes each week.

Michael is a gym supervisor at YMCA in Thornton and he explained how it was helping his 77-year-old mother-in-law Maureen Hodgkinson, who suffers from vascular dementia, that the classes came to fruition.

He said: “It all came about when I would visit my partner Kelly who was caring for Maureen for five years. I would play music, dance and generally mess about and Maureen would join in and enjoy it.

“When Maureen went into Annacliffe Residential Home eight months ago, some of the residents were watching TV and doing nothing else so I asked if I could run a keep fit class for them on a trial basis.

“I did it twice a week for 40 minutes and it went really well and some family members were coming and doing the class as well.

As well as Annacliffe, Michael runs classes at Kingfisher, Thornton House and West Port House care homes in Thornton.

Michael says after trying to get help financially to run the classes he was given access to government funding through the YMCA’s Your Move programme so he can potentially expand his classes even further.