Ken Williamson, 93, has proven you’re never too old to start exercising again and has won our national award for embracing his new hobby with such enthusiasm, dancing his way to victory. A chatty, interesting and energetic chap, we thought that Ken's story was an inspiration, proving that older adults can live a life full of joy and colour! An avid dancer, there's no stopping Ken from waltzing around the room during Oomph! classes - a huge improvement from when he first arrived at the home.
Activity coordinator at Appleby House, Jacqueline Dye, is a trained Instructor and nominated Ken for the award. She said “Ken is always waiting at the door for our Oomph! sessions to start, he loves exercise and used to do ballroom dancing with his wife who unfortunately now can no longer dance. Ken is so enthusiastic during the sessions and gets up to join me for a waltz. When Ken first arrived at Appleby House he used to sit in his unit and was unwilling to come out, now he is dancing his days away and is so much happier and always smiling.”
Ken himself says: “It takes me back to the old days. It rejuvenates me both of mind and spirit of my days as a youngster in the forces and civilian life with my dear wife of 66 years.” Joan, Ken’s wife, meanwhile, said “Ken really enjoys the Oomph! sessions, he seems happier and more aware. It makes my heart glad that Ken is happy in his surroundings.”
Ken’s prize for winning the competition was a professional ballroom dancing lesson, and an ‘Oomph! Party’ at the home, including a bespoke cinema experience of some classic dance hall moments.
Shona Bradbury, Manager at Appleby House, a Care UK home, said “We have seen a reduction in falls this month which I think is down to the Oomph! classes. The visual aspects of Oomph! work really well in getting residents engaged. We have residents, staff and relatives all joining in Oomph! Sessions - they really lift the mood of the home. Instructor Jacqueline is revelling in her role as an Oomph! Instructor, she consistently delivers enthusiastic, confident and engaging sessions. She is adored by residents.”
George McNamara, Head of Policy at Alzheimer’s Society, who funded the training and support programme on behalf of Appleby House said: “We’re thrilled to be a part of this wonderful story. Leading a physically active lifestyle can have a significant impact on the wellbeing of old people, especially those living with dementia and mild cognitive impairment. Exercise is beneficial for physical and mental health and may improve the quality of life for people in all stages of the condition. Oomph! gets people exercising in an enjoyable way. By involving family and friends in the sessions makes it even more powerful.”
The staff at The Grange Care Home in Colne have gone above and beyond to fulfil a long term wish of 92-year-old resident Norman Bannister, who is a lifelong fan of Burnley Football Club. He has visited hundreds of the team’s matches throughout his life, but never thought he would be able to see a match again.
Thanks to the generosity of Burnley Football Club, Norman – who, despite his age, continues a daily exercise regime - and his grandson were given a tour of the ground with an ‘old claret’, before having lunch and settling down to watch the Bank Holiday match on the 28th December.
Organised by the home’s Activity Coordinator, Katherine Birtles, Norman’s day out was a resounding success, bringing back fond memories and fulfilling his dream as part of the home’s ‘Wishing Well’ initiative. All residents in the home are invited to choose one long term wish they'd like to fulfil during their time in the home and the staff team are challenged with making the residents' wishes come true.
Katherine Birtles commented: “Norman can remember visiting ‘The Turf’ when he was aged just five in the year 1928. He recalls the match as if it were just yesterday, remembering players and match specifics in great detail. When asked about what his ‘Wishing Well’ wish might be, returning to The Turf was an obvious choice for him.
Norman said about the trip, “it was one of the best days of my life! The day just got better and better!” Katherine added: “Norman has not really stopped talking about it and is delighted and so obviously enthused about the whole experience.”.
Norman is one of the many residents in all brighterkind care homes throughout the UK that are able to take part in a new programme of recreational activities and exercise classes that are designed to be an enjoyable way of improving their health and wellbeing. Staff in the brighterkind homes have received specialist training from Oomph!. The programme equips them to deliver imaginative and enjoyable activities that support physical and mental wellbeing, designed in conjunction with Oomph!.
2015 has been another amazing year for Oomph!, with more and more older adults across the UK experiencing increased mobility, mental simulation and social interaction as a result of our work. The number of Exercise Leaders in our network has grown exponentially and we're upskilling even more staff with the launch of our new Activities Leadership Licence. It's been an exciting year with some fantastic stories and statistics. We've seen Activity Coordinators taking Oomph! to the next level with Al Fresco exercise sessions, and we've crowned our most Oomphtastic resident of 2015.
All of this wouldn't be possible without the ongoing support of Instructors, Managers and wider care home staff, as well as our trainers and staff. We want to say a huge thank you to everyone who's helped make this another incredible year, full of fun, laughter and colour!
In December, Oomph! were delighted to release our latest video, featuring the great work at Sandfields. The video stars David Ible, the Activity Co-Ordinator at the home - watch it here.
Last month we also announced the shortlist for the Instructor of the Year 2015 award– a prestigious award for the most inspirational, innovating and imaginative Oomph! Instructor. Selected from hundreds of Instructors across our network, all of our 24 Instructors of the Month for 2015 are invited to apply, for the chance to win a 1 year Sky TV Lounge Package for the home, and a £50 cash prize for the instructor.
And finally, featuring in December's newsletter is Ken, the 93 year old resident who has won our nationwide Oomph! Factor Competition, to find the most enthusiastic and amazing Oomphing participants! Judged by CEO Ben Allen, and Head of Training, Steve Gardner, we thought that Ken's story was an inspiration, proving that older adults can live a life full of joy and colour! An avid dancer, there's no stopping Ken from waltzing around the room - a huge improvement from when he first arrived at the home.
It's been a fantastic year for Oomph!, paving the way for an exciting and impactful 2016!
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