Jan 11, 2016
• Group exercise sessions feature 12 times a week at Care UK’s Priors House care home
• Activities coordinators recognised as best in the UK by award-winning social enterprise
• Recommended guidelines state older people should participate in at least 150 minutes of exercise a week to prevent falls, maintain independence and manage symptoms of dementia
Each week, as many as thirty residents at Priors House care home take part in 12 scheduled ‘Oomph!’ exercise sessions in the home. This means they are amongst just 7 percent nationally meeting minimum guidelines by the World Health Organisation, which state that older adults should take part in at least 150 minutes of exercise weekly.
Activities coordinators Jon Sneath and Debbie Wall were trained by the award-winning social enterprise ‘Oomph!’ to deliver fun-filled exercise and activity classes for older adults, designed to get care home residents moving again. Debbie and Jon have now been recognised for their engaging and dedicated approach with the Best Oomph! Instructors award.
The Priors House activities coordinators were chosen from hundreds of care home team members nationally that are delivering Oomph! sessions – a new approach to exercise in older adults that uses singing, popular upbeat music, colourful sensory props and themed story-telling and reminiscence-led choreography.
Oomph! founder, Ben Allen said: “Oomph! stands for Our Organisation Makes People Happy! and that’s what we aim to do every day. Our research shows that older people don’t proactively seek out exercise classes, so instead we offer them a song and dance party that happens to exercise their body – and they can’t get enough of it. They are enjoying themselves, they’re socialising and they’re getting fitter and stronger at the same time.”
Priors House resident, Mona Pratt, aged 85, who used to be a physiotherapist at Leamington’s Royal Pump Rooms, has seen improved mobility and social interaction as a result of the classes, saying: “I think the classes are very good, it’s helped me get back on my feet and have more energy. I love it, I look forward to Oomph! and I’m glad we have it here, it’s very good for everyone”.
On receiving the award, Jon Sneath commented: “Mona is a huge inspiration when it comes to the Oomph! classes. Having previously found walking difficult, her mobility is now drastically improved, as is her mental and emotional wellbeing. She is a ray of light in the classes, and has become our honorary instructor, she helps lead the classes and offers support and encouragement to the others. I’ve been an activities coordinator with Priors House since the opening of the care home in May 2014, and have searched for something to really give the home a buzz! It’s safe to say we have found it.”
Debbie Wall, who also received the award said: “The Oomph sessions are just priceless, just to see a difference in people’s mobility, mental wellbeing and the social benefits of the classes confirm to me my job is worthwhile”.
Home manager, Julia Joy, commented: “My office is located near where the Oomph! sessions take place. I know when they are going on because I can hear the sound of laughter. The atmosphere is infectious and often the residents have come out doing the conga following a session. Jon and Debbie are fantastic instructors and the difference the Oomph! sessions have made are phenomenal. Not only is it good for residents, it’s great for staff morale too!”
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