In the spirit of Create-mas, we’re showcasing residents’ Christmas themed artworks that have been entered into our Oomph! Create competition. Inspired by the new workshops that we’re running in partnership with The Lightbox, Cedars, a brighterkind home in Salisbury, won the competiton with their fantastic sock snowmen. You can check out some of the other masterpieces below…
Oomph! have partnered with The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking to design a brand new workshop for care home staff.
Staff have been sculpting out new skills that focus on painting, sketching and modelling with clay, ready to take their newfound talents back to their respective homes for the benefit of residents.
Held across various regions in the UK, the workshops bring together staff from local care homes, teaching them the fundamentals of the three different skills and how they can practically apply and adapt these for residents.
The workshop is one of four that are run throughout the year, as part of a wider wellbeing training and support programme run by Oomph!. Previous workshops include sport, relaxation and music. The aim is to upskill staff so that they can reignite residents’ past passions and encourage development of new hobbies.
Steve Gardner, Head of Training & Support at Oomph!, said; “We are always looking to create new partnerships that will drive innovation in our training, so that we can continually inspire and engage staff to take new skills back to their care settings. This is why we’re delighted to be working with The Lightbox to provide staff with fresh, new content for them to try out with residents, so that older adults can reap the mental, physical and social rewards of getting creative.”
Heather Thomas, Learning and Engagement Manager at The Lightbox added “We are incredibly proud that we have been able to share the amazing Health and Wellbeing work we are doing with older people at The Lightbox to those in care homes across the country. Being able to inspire and encourage residents to be creative in whichever way they want is vital to their health and enjoyment of everyday life.
About The Lightbox Gallery
The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking is home to three stunning galleries hosting a huge range of regularly changing exhibitions featuring world-renowned artists.
Alongside the exhibition programme they also run a number of stimulating community projects for a range of participants including the local homeless, those with mental health conditions and individuals living with the early stages of dementia. The Lightbox believes that art is a powerful therapeutic tool which can help promote happiness and provide relief from the difficulties of the everyday world. The varied range of stimulating community projects, including Art in Mind and Art Without Walls, enables participants to feel positive and creative without any expectation or pressure.
Art in Mind is a programme of monthly workshops for people in the early stages of dementia and their carers or supporters, supporting research that artistic stimulation prolongs the ability of people with dementia to play an active part in society. New to the programme is Art Without Walls, an arts-based outreach programme where The Lightbox delivers an art workshop in local care homes for people who would otherwise not have access to arts and heritage services.
Walking into a care setting for older adults, you might be surprised to see children’s tricycles in the gardens and toys in the lounges. But, thanks to intergenerational care and learning programmes, it’s now a sight that is becoming much more frequent.
As the UK catches up with The Netherlands, who have long been reaping the benefits of intergenerational programmes and shared sites, interest is now growing at a remarkable rate.
What are intergenerational programmes in care?
Ongoing intergenerational programmes that are purpose built to bring different generations together are now being introduced in care homes throughout the UK at a fast pace, enabling residents to share experiences that are not only thoroughly enjoyable, but proven to be extremely beneﬁcial. These programmes, often based within care home living arrangements, are environments that can see various age groups interact through planned intergenerational activities.
For example, care homes and centres within the retirement community are inviting local children in for regular singing and music sessions, sports days and arts and crafts workshops. Taking this one step further, many are also incorporating on-site childcare, including nurseries and – in some cases – even providing housing for grandparents raising grandchildren. These shared sites provide a fun and positive environment where children and older adults can learn and interact in shared space.
Alleviating staff shortages
Some care settings focus on reducing staffing shortages by offering on-site childcare, including nurseries and pre and after school programmes. In addition to offering all the benefits of intergenerational activities and programmes, there is the added employee benefit, and many of these programmes can – and do – have reduced costs significantly through the pooling of resources.
Intergenerational shared sites and activities have proven benefits. Older adults who have access to these are less likely to feel isolated and lonely, and in contrast, feel more valued within their community, with a purpose, providing hope for the future. Those participating can see improved mental health, improved socialisation through regular contact with children, improved self-worth, increased independence and an improved sense of wellbeing. For older adults living with dementia, intergenerational programmes have shown lowered levels of agitation and delayed entrance into a nursing setting.
Known childhood benefits
But what about the children? Well, intergenerational programmes also benefit children. These benefits include enhanced social skills, lower levels of aggressive behaviour and improved academic performance.
There are some great ideas on how to introduce intergenerational activities into care homes – such as inviting local schools and playgroups to visit the care home to make friends with residents and participate in activities like baking, knitting, performing and rehearsing plays, Harvest festivals and Christmas carol singing. These activities can also span beyond the care home walls – for example, Barty House Nursing Home, in Maidstone, Kent, have developed community links with a local school, recently taking a trip to visit the students to help with their 1950s project (pictured). These links ensure that knowledge and experiences are passed down through the generations.
Looking to the future
In summary, children can be a rare sight for many older adults living within care settings, but – with the rapid growth of intergenerational programmes across the UK – this will soon change. It is inevitable that the increasing creativity and diversity of the care environment will prompt these programmes to become an integral component of care – an absolute must-have for resident wellbeing.
We have partnered with Somerset Care, a leading UK Care Group, to provide engaging trips out for their residents.
Trips are running for 26 Somerset Care homes, who will be visiting a varied range of locations, spanning everything from arts and culture, to food and dining, to nature and the outdoors. Partnerships established with organisations such as the National Trust also mean that homes will be getting out and about to beautiful houses, buildings and gardens in their local area.
Previous Oomph! trips have been to unexpected and exciting locations, such as cat cafes, gin distilleries and racing tracks, as well as more day-to-day spots in the local community. These trips out aim to connect residents to the people and places that matter most to them, so that they can reignite old passions – or discover new ones.
Somerset Care homes have already headed out to local venues such as Bristol Aquarium, Fleet Air Museum, and Haynes Motor Museum.
On a recent trip, one resident commented: “I had a lovely day and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would love to do it again!”
A member of staff at the home said: “Today’s trip was a fun and meaningful activity. Residents really loved it.”
The trips also act as an opportunity for residents to share their wealth of knowledge and experience, with Anthony, the Oomph! Conductor, commenting: “On our trip the residents planned the planting of daffodils for next year, as it’s best done in November… so I learned something today too!”
Nicola Mould, Somerset Care’s Director of Customer and Care Development, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Oomph! Wellness to provide days out for our residents. The trips provide an amazing addition to the activities already on offer within our homes and our residents are having great fun, with many enjoying a sing song along the way.”
Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! are delighted to be partnering with Somerset Care, to provide residents with regular and meaningful trips out. It is a privilege to be an integral part of the organisation’s wellbeing provision and we are excited to help ensure that residents life a full life, for life.”
Oomph! work in partnership with Canford Healthcare, a leading UK provider of care homes, to take residents out and about on trips to local destinations. A recent trip took residents back to the 50s for a themed visit to a local school…
Pupils from Year 5 at St Johns C of E Primary School in Maidstone have dedicated a whole term to discover what life was like in the 1950s. They have immersed themselves in the era throughout the past few weeks, learning about the coronation of the Queen, popular TV shows, famous musicians and the fashion of the time.
It all came together this week for their special 1950s day, where every pupil and teacher dressed to impress in their 50s style outfits. Barty House residents were invited along, to tell the children some real-life stories of the era. Residents Barbara, Daphne and 97-year-old Eide had a wealth of different stories of the time and took joy in answering the children’s questions. Eide was asked “what did you have for dinner”, she answered “Bread and Jam, we didn’t have much, but you can’t complain!”
Once all the questions were answered the residents were invited in to the hall, to watch a special rehearsal of the pupils Jive dance. For the past few weeks the children have been practising the steps, leading up to their final performance for their parents this week.
We then headed into the classroom where all the children were busy creating invitations, bookmarks and paper flowers all inspired by the Queen’s coronation. The residents were then presented with a bunch of paper flowers to take home, a wonderful token to remember the day by.
Connecting with the community is an important part of the wellbeing programme at Barty House and having such wonderful relationships with the local schools brings many opportunities for the residents. St Johns school are already planned to join the home in the next week to get residents and staff in the festive mood with some carol singing.