Barchester Healthcare has teamed up with Oomph!, an organisation that aspires to improve older people’s quality of life, and is piloting their wellness programme in several care homes across the country.
The activity sessions are based on a range of themes, from chairobics and chair cheerleading, to ‘Strictly Fun Dancing’ – a class which uses well-known dance moves and popular songs. Barchester Activities Co-ordinators have been trained by Oomph! in a Level 2 'Exercise Leadership in Care Homes' qualification, which is endorsed by Skills Active – the sector skills council for active leisure and learning. These sessions are designed to help residents build relationships with one another, increase their mobility and enhance mental stimulation.
Regular exercise improves cardio-respiratory and muscular fitness, bone and functional health and reduces the risk of unhappiness and cognitive decline. The Barchester homes taking part in the pilot are already noticing a difference to residents' quality of life, with classes showing a proven increase in levels of social interaction and mental stimulation among those taking part. From the most recent surveys, 100% of residents have stated that the Oomph! classes have had a positive effect on their health and happiness.
Ben Allen, Founder and CEO of Oomph! said: “To date, Oomph! has trained 17 Barchester Activity Co-ordinators who have delivered 180 classes to an average group size of 14 residents per session. Oomph! stands for Our Organisation Makes People Happy. Our work is about generating a party atmosphere where everyone has fun and take part in regular classes - ensuring older people are moving, socialising and thinking.”
Trish Morris-Thompson, Director of Care and Quality of Barchester, said: “It is a great way to introduce a fun atmosphere that also has tangible results when it comes to residents’ health and wellbeing, and the early findings say the residents enjoy it. Staff engagement is also important and investing the time in those facilitating the session really makes a lot of sense.”