Monthly Archives

July 2020

Top Tips For Developing A Painting – Part 1: Sketching

By | Care Home

In this three part special, we give top tips for beginners to pick up their paintbrushes – no matter what their ability.

We start the series with our top tips for sketching. Just like many other art forms, sketching benefits many different areas of our wellbeing. Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, guides us through it…

Sketching as meditation

Sketching can help us relax, reducing stress, agitation and anxiety, and improving our focus. Sketching forces us to pay attention to details in the environment, relieving our brains from the strain of continuous concentration.

This experience is just like meditation and will bring you a sense of calm, balance and peace, which will improve your overall emotional wellbeing!

Mapping out your image

When beginning your sketch, remember there is no right or wrong place to start. Use your pencil to map out your image. For example, you could draw what’s in the background then focus on what is in the middle and foreground. It is up to you how much detail you include but remember that you will eventually paint over this later on in the process!

Under pressure

The harder you press your pencil on to the paper, the harder it will be to rub out. This will mean it will be more likely to show through the paint in the later stages. It is best to be gentle when drawing with a pencil, so that it doesn’t show through the paint.

Scale and proportions

If the participant intends on copying an image, encourage them to look carefully at what is there, keeping in mind scale and proportions. Keep checking back at the original image!

A few pointers for beginners

Know your tools – ensure you are completely comfortable with your grade of pencils, sharpener, eraser and sketch books. It also helps to start with simplified large shapes and save the details until later.

Make sketching a habit and you’ll soon become a pro!

During unprecedented times, Oomph! are keen to support with stimulating and varied content for older adults. As part of this, we are releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Oomph! Create Series: Scrapbooking How-To

By | Care Home

The third topic in our Create mini-series is: Scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking is a great activity for expressing your creativity, and a fantastic way to showcase the exciting things you’ve been up to. Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, talks us through the process…

Step one… Choose your topic

Scrapbooking is all about telling a story, so have a think about the story you want to tell! For example, if you are tending to the outdoor garden and preparing it for the summer, could you evidence this journey?

Step two… Sort your photos

When developing pages that are full of photos, it is important to remember that often less is more! It helps to choose a focal point – be aware of where you want your viewer’s eyes to be drawn. This will support with creating bigger impact when people are observing your finished piece. Use photos with the best lighting and avoid dark or blurry images.

Step three… Create a background

Find different materials to work on to make your backgrounds super interesting! You could use paper, but look at different kinds with different consistencies, for example by using vellum or lace paper to give your work transparency.

Finding the perfect paper-crafts supplies is part of the fun! For most pages, you’ll need: Patterned paper and/or card stock, adhesive, embellishments , like ribbon, buttons and stickers, paper trimmer, scissors and page protectors/album.

Step four… The finishing touches

Once your photos are in position (look online for layout inspiration if needed), add text/ journaling to tell a story within your piece. Also, stick on simple embellishments to bring your work to life. For example, try out beads, buttons, confetti, glitter, foam shapes, eyelets, die-cuts, pressed flowers, charms, sequins and stickers.

Double mount your focal point photo & group mount the supporting photos. Then stick your photos to the desired area of the page! Voila – you’re a scrapbooking pro…

If you’d like more scrapbooking inspiration, have a look at these 20 scrapbooking ideas from Country Living, and 35 more ideas here.

During unprecedented times, Oomph! are keen to support with stimulating and varied content for older adults. As part of this, we are releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Oomph! Create Series: Creating Collages

By | Care Home

The second topic in our Create mini-series is: Creating Collages.

Edgar Degas said “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. A “collage” describes both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other objects are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface.

Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, talks us through the process…

Resources and Narrative

Start by sourcing a variety of magazines, newspapers and other materials (see the list below for inspiration.) Ensure that you have a good mix of magazines to cater for everyone’s interests – for example, gardening, nature, cars and sport.

When looking through materials, begin to consider a narrative that your artwork will follow. For example, it could be a domestic piece, a natural landscape or a sports match.

Arranging the composition

Cut out any interesting shapes, colours and objects that fit within your piece. Before gluing the cut out images and shapes in place, it is a good idea to arrange them into a composition on a nice piece of paper. Once your piece is arranged in a desired way, glue and stick them onto the permanent surface. Then display your finished piece for everyone to enjoy!

Other creative materials…

Buttons, coloured cellophane, colouring book pages, confetti, craft foam, crayon shavings, fabric, fancy napkins, feathers, flower petals, birthday cards, leaves, magazine pages, newspaper clipping, photographs, playing cards, postcards, puzzle pieces, rice, rubber bands, sandpaper, seeds, sequins, spices, stickers, string, tinsel, tissue paper, wire, wrapping paper.

During unprecedented times, Oomph! are keen to support with stimulating and varied content for older adults. As part of this, we are releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Oomph! Create Series: See What You Say

By | Care Home

The first topic in our Create mini-series is: See What You Say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every artist was first an amateur”.

Creative activities provide opportunities for everyone, regardless of their ability. They enable people to engage with each other and their own creativity, directly improving their sense of wellbeing. Taking part in creative activities can reduce stress and increase social engagement, providing a fantastic opportunity for self-expression.

These activities don’t need to be complex or require lots of materials! Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, has a simple creative activity to stimulate the mind, that only requires pencils, paper and an object…

The benefits of the activity

It’s always important to know why we are doing an activity and what the benefits of an activity are. This activity will support thought process, reduce anxiety, promote calm and relaxation, improve dexterity and support control of movement. This activity, and creative activities in general, are great for promoting individuality, promoting  happiness and creating meaningful connections.

Let’s be creative

You will need an object, pencils and paper for this activity. During the activity you will draw what you hear.

The speaker will pick an object and sit out of view from the rest of the group. They must describe the object in as much detail as possible without saying what it is.

For example, if you were describing a jug, you may say: “This object is made from clay and is about 20cm tall. It has a larger bottom to it & becomes narrower about two thirds of the way up.”

The other members of the group draw their interpretation of what they are hearing. Afterwards, get the group to share what they have drawn and compare their creative pieces!

During unprecedented times, Oomph! are keen to support with stimulating and varied content for older adults. As part of this, we are releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Top Tips For Older Adults Starting To Exercise

By | Care Home

The popularity of home workouts has increased exponentially with the Covid-19 pandemic – keeping fit and healthy is vital for mental and physical wellbeing, especially at a time when we’re still facing restrictions. But, if you’ve never tried exercising before, or its been a while since you last did physical activity, it can be a daunting prospect.

Our exercise expert, Steve Gardner, shares his top tips for anyone starting to exercise, either for the first time or after a period of inactivity…

Purpose

Is this something that you want to commit to, and not just a one-off? If your answer is yes, then it’s important to understand WHY you want to start exercising. Without understanding what you can achieve and how it will benefit you, inevitably your commitment could wane pretty quickly.

Start by taking a look at how exercise can support and benefit you specifically. This will be different for every person, so what would be most impactful for you? Perhaps increased mobility levels, increased range of movement, pain relief or easier breathing? Or how about reduced isolation, increased independence or a sense of achievement and structure?

People often focus on the physical benefits of getting moving, where in fact there are intellectual, emotional and social benefits that will have a tremendous impact on your life. Think of exercise as a holistic approach to your all-round wellbeing – understanding why YOU are doing it will support the ability to influence continuity months down the line.

Exciting Exercise

When embarking on your journey of exercise, it’s worth thinking of your options. The best results come primarily from doing things you enjoy – if you’re having fun, it won’t feel as much like hard work and you’ll want to keep doing it! After all, doing something that’s physically active provides benefits mentally, physically and emotionally, but is completely underpinned by enjoyment! This dramatically increases the chances of success and achievement.

Slow and steady wins the race

Once you have decided what you are doing and understand why you are doing it, you need to consider what level of intensity will work best for you. Exercise intensity refers to how hard your body is working during physical activity. Your health and fitness goals, as well as your current level of fitness, will determine your ideal exercise intensity. Typically, exercise intensity is described as low, moderate or vigorous.

If you have had a period of inactivity, then it is advised to start off with low intensity for a short period of time, and then build this up over the months. During this time, you will need to balance intensity and length of session. Set yourself some achievable targets that do not cause pain or discomfort, and aim for slow and steady increases in intensity over a period of months.

Compound movements

Compound exercises are exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, a chest press (this is where you have both arms by your chest and push forward) is a compound exercise that works both the chest and arms. Using multiple muscles and joints will not isolate specific parts of the body, which could then cause injury. The amount of times you then complete each movement, combined with the speed of the action, starts to build a structure to your exercise session. But note – going more quickly does not always make it harder! Slowing the movement down to a very controlled pace can intensify the movement and mean that you work harder.

Session Structure

No matter what the physical activity may be, from an exercise session to gardening, if you are starting to become physically active after a period of being sedentary, include a warm up and a cool down! The thought process of “I could do this before and I will be fine now” could lead to injury and put you off continuing with the task at hand.

The reason behind a warm up is to prepare the body and mind for physical activity. A really good way to do this is to think through the movements needed to the activity. Let’s take gardening as an example – a digging motion may be needed, so you can simply start to replicate the same movements and slowly build up the intensity. You are now actively engaging the muscle groups needed for the task at hand – you have started a functional warm up!

Towards the end of your physical activity session, it’s a really good idea to gently reduce the intensity. Think about the muscles and joints you have been using and mobilise these areas to their full range of movement. For example, if you have been using your upper body, reach in front as far as you can, reach to the sky and then give yourself a cuddle. All these movements should be controlled. This is to try and prevent muscular soreness and stiffness the day after; this can restrict movements.

And remember, only do what you are comfortable with!

 

For more information about what we do, please email us here.

Care home residents focusing on the positives with new way to stay connected with loved ones…

By | Care Home

Residents of care homes across the UK have been using a template that aims to connect them with their loved ones. As visitors are currently unable to go into care homes, the template means they can catch up without the need for physical contact.

“Missing you lots! Can’t wait until the virus lockdown is over and I can take you out”

Focusing on the positives, the template has space for drawing pictures, sticking photos and writing messages, as well as noting down the things that have made them smile that week. The document is then sent to friends and relatives, who fill in the other side with their own drawings and messages. These are returned to the home for the residents to enjoy.

Encouraging regular communication

One home, Brookvale House in Southampton, part of Brookvale Healthcare, has found the template to be hugely successful at connecting residents with loved ones in a meaningful way, receiving plenty of replies.

A resident at the home and her daughter have been using the templates regularly to exchange messages and clippings as a form of reminiscence. One of the communications included a photo of blue flowers, with the message “A lovely picture for you – blue forget me nots. Remember your song, Two Little Girls in Blue, when your father used to sing it to you. It was a famous song in 1921!”

The resident replied, “I remember the song Two Little Girls in Blue – I remember my dad singing this song together!”

Tunbridge Wells Care Centre, part of Canford Healthcare, have also had replies from loved ones. One child replied to a resident, “Thank you for the letter, I really enjoyed reading it. My positives include splashing in the paddling pool, writing poems and writing this!”

Keeping up spirits

The template has also proven that it’s the simple things bringing us joy during lockdown – some of the positives noted by residents of Brookvale Care Home and their loved ones include “cups of tea”, “seeing my son”,  “singing” and “sunshine”. One resident said her positives were “When my daughter sends me flowers and when my daughter calls me on the phone – it makes me smile!”

For information on how we can help to keep residents engaged during the Covid-19 pandemic, please contact us at hello@oomph-wellness.org

 

Photo taken at Karuna Manor

Oomph! Relax Series: Leading A Relaxation Session

By | Care Home

The fourth topic in our Relax mini-series is: Leading Relaxation Sessions.

Relaxation sessions can be a fantastic activity for older adults in a variety of settings. Whether its leading a session in your care home, in your retirement living scheme, or even leading a session with an older friend or relative, relaxation sessions can be a great way of finding calm. So, Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, gives direction for how to make these sessions as impactful as possible…

Voice

When delivering a session, it’s important to have a clear and relaxed voice. This will not only help to create a relaxed atmosphere, but will support the delivery of guidance and instructions. How we say things and the way in which we deliver them actually has a bigger impact than what we are saying. So, using your voice in the right way can impact the environment and the people around you. During relaxation sessions you will use your voice to give permission, enhance the relaxed atmosphere and support people to feel comfortable.

Language

Tone: Describes the ‘pitch’ of voice. Pitch refers to the vibrations you create when you speak – whether these are high or low. People can speak from their ‘throat’ or from their ‘stomach’. This changes the pitch from being high and forced to low and natural.

Speed: The speed of speech varies for everyone, but in a relaxation session the speed of speaking should be slowed down to create a relaxing and calm ‘paced’ atmosphere.

Words: Support the atmosphere. Positive words promote feelings of happiness and calm. Clear instructions are vital!

Have a go…

During a relaxation session, the phrases we use can help to praise people and put them at ease. Below are some phrases commonly used in relaxation sessions, why not have a go and use some of them in your next session?

“Move to where you feel comfortable”

“Ease into the movement, working to where feels natural for you”

“We only lose what you cling to; acceptance is essential”

“The mind is just like a muscle: the more you exercise it, the stronger it gets and the more it can grow”

“Focus on what feels right for you”

“When we get too caught up in the business of the world, we lose connection with one another, and ourselves”

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”

During unprecedented times, Oomph! are keen to support with stimulating and varied content for older adults. As part of this, we are releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

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