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Oomph! Wellness

Oomph! Relax Series: Morning Pages

By | Care Home

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.

The first topic in our Relax mini-series is: Morning Pages.

In the book, The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, it is stated that a tool called ‘Morning Pages’ is practised by many people. The activity uses writing as a medium to release inner chatter and to obtain more consciousness throughout the day. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinators, tells us more about how to use morning pages…

 

Release your inner chatter

It is important that, before we embark on any relaxation activity, we release our “inner chatter”. Writing is a fantastic way to get things down on paper and to collate your thoughts. The activity of creating ”morning pages” is consciousness writing, and can be done in the morning, or before any relaxation exercise.

Morning pages helps us to clarify our thoughts, brings us comfort and helps us to prioritise the day at hand. Don’t over-think morning pages, it’s a process to clear your mind!

Now have a go!

Take a pen and some paper, and then begin jotting down anything that comes into your mind. There is no wrong way to do morning pages, just write down anything and everything that pops into your mind!

“I’ve got to make dinner later, what do I need from the shops?” This could be an example of a thought that you write down. No one else will see what you’re writing – it’s for your eyes only!

Park your thoughts

Once you have all your thoughts down on paper, your mind should be chatter free! Make sure you “park your thoughts” – for example, place them away from you or pop them in your pocket.

After you have finished your relaxation activity, you can go back to your thoughts.

Oomph! Culture Series: Bring Exhibitions to Life

By | Care Home

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.

The third topic in our Culture mini-series is: Bringing Exhibitions To Life

Nannette l. Avery said, “A museum was a place where nothing was lost, just rediscovered”. At the moment, visiting museums, galleries and places of culture isn’t an option, so Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinators, tells us more about how we can bring the exhibitions to us…

“When different people find common interest and are curious about an object or place, even when they do not have prior memories of it, this can become a catalyst for connection between them. Shared curiosity can spark free-flowing conversation, which can reassure a person with dementia that someone is interested in their lives.”

Quote taken from – Curiosity, place and wellbeing: encouraging place-specific curiosity as a “way to wellbeing’

Spark Curiosity

Why not create exhibitions in your home which celebrate residents’ lives? These can be stationary (for example, in rooms, on boards or displayed in reception), or can be mobile if you use a trolley. Using objects from their lives can celebrate resident achievements or interests. By designing exhibits for individuals, you will spark curiosity, bring people together and discover shared interests.

Experiment

You don’t need to just stick to objects from history or art galleries! Why not experiment in your home with these exhibit ideas?

Multi-sensory demonstrations or displays – allow the exhibition goers to experience the objects on display. For example, this could be an audio visual experience with video clips.

Exhibits from another time – discover the past, present and possibly the future! For example, what exciting technological developments are happening and how could you explore these?

Experimental exhibits – opportunities for museum goers to learn through interacting with and using the objects on show. Are there any unusual items that could be used?

Get Crafty

Turn the exhibition into an experience from beginning to end! Why not get creative and crafty in your home with these ideas…

Scale Models – play with sizes. Can you change the scale of something to give you a new perspective (microscopes or enlarged photocopies). How about creating model replicas together?

DIY Exhibition – opportunities for museum goers to add to existing exhibits and create new exhibits themselves. You could even consider asking the local community to send in their exhibits, in the form of drawings, photos and stories.

Mystery Items – that encourage people to explore the item and ask questions about what something is.

Oomph! Culture Series: One Word Stories

By | Care Home

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.

The third topic in our Culture mini-series is: One Word Storytelling

Rudyard Kipling said, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten”. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators, suggests a fun and simple activity…

 

Creative flow

Get the creative juices flowing with a one-word storytelling game. In a 1:1 or as a group, you will tell a story together, taking it in turns to add one word at a time. This fun game will require you to work together and help with developing communication – plus you’re guaranteed to have a giggle!

Set the scene

Set the scene by leading with a full sentence, for example…

“Once upon a time there was a young man who wanted to change his luck…” or

“Once upon a time, there lived a woman with extraordinary powers…”

Then allow the next person to continue the story, one word at a time. If you are in a group, ensure everyone contributes. Keep telling the story until it has reached a conclusion. Make sure you jot down each word as the story unfolds so that you can read it back!

For a more independent version of this activity, how about using our storytelling prompt template here, or search online for some short story prompts to provide inspiration.

 

Showcase

Why not build a story book together and include all of the stories created? This will allow you to share the stories built over a period of time with friends and family.

Oomph! Culture Series: How To Write Your Own Limericks

By | Care Home

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.

The second topic in our Culture mini-series is: How To Write Your Own Limericks. 

Robert Frost said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words”. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators,  tells us how we can write our own limericks…

What is a limerick?

Limericks are funny or unusual poems which consist of 5 lines – they are short, rhyme, and have a bouncy rhythm. They stimulate the soul by encouraging laughter and providing a creative outlet. There is even a National Limerick Day, held every year on May 12th, which celebrates Edward Lear, the man who made the short poems popular.

Follow the next steps to practice and create your own.

Have a go!

To create a limerick, you need to follow an “AABBA” rhyme scheme. This means that lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 also rhyme.

You can also keep each line to a certain number of syllables to create a nice poetic flow. Lines 1, 2 & 5 would have between 8 and 9 syllables, whilst lines 3 & 4 would have between 5 and 6 syllables.

Have a look at the example below:

A – There once was a man from Peru,
A – Who dreamt that he swallowed a shoe,
B – He woke up in a fright,
B – In the mid of the night,
A – To learn that his dream had come true!

  1. Start by choosing your subject, this can be anything you want!
  2. Then, write down some ideas for your first line.
  3. Make a list of words that rhyme with your first line to inspire your second and fifth lines.
  4. Write your second line.
  5. Write down your third and fourth lines. These need to rhyme with each other!
  6. Finish off the limerick with your fifth line (remember this should rhyme with your first and second lines!).
  7. Test it out loud and see how it sounds… Then share!

Make It Meaningful

Why not create limericks based on your interests or your own funny experiences? Have a think about some lighthearted and humorous moments in your life which could be a great starting point!

Care home brings community together with street exercise session!

By | Care Home

At Ruddington Manor in Nottingham, part of the New Care Group, the care home’s residents have been smiling and waving to local people during the weekly clap for key workers. Relationships have been building between them during this time.

To create a sense of togetherness at a time when residents are unable to go on trips or have external visitors due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Wellbeing Team at the home organised a communal street exercise session, with the residents of Ruddington Manor and the local people of the Wilford community.

Invitations were sent to neighbours and the home was buzzing with anticipation for the day. On the day, the home’s residents and the local neighbours came together to shake their pom poms for a fun-filled Oomph! exercise session.

 

Exercising With The Community

Amy Simpson, Lead Wellbeing Coordinator at the home, commented: “It went really well and everyone laughed throughout! Residents said it was great to meet their neighbours, and they hope to do more things together.

The local people were good sports, really enjoyed the session and would love to do it again… One neighbour said that she had never exercised as a family before, but that she found the session was really fun. Another resident said she was using the session this morning as a warm up before her jog. The children that got involved said it was great fun too.”

 

You can’t beat fresh air and Oomph! exercise – Oomph! is bringing a community together!

Amy Simpson, Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, Ruddington Manor

Lifting Spirits During Lockdown

Alongside this community session, exercise has played a huge part in getting spirits up within the home – to date, the home have held over 23 Oomph! exercise sessions since the start of lockdown, and have plenty more planned in. Another New Care home, Grosvenor Manor, held an impressive 181 Oomph! exercise sessions in February and March.

Amy, Lead Wellbeing Coordinator at Ruddington Manor, told us, “Over the past month, the support has been amazing from Oomph! – not only do we use the fantastic resources sent to us, we continue to use the other Oomph! exercise sessions that we have been trained to deliver.

We have noticed that by increasing Oomph! sessions, residents that would not normally attend are now attending. Over the past month we have used Oomph! once a day – or even twice a day – to keep the residents stimulated emotionally, physically and mentally.

I would like to thank Oomph! for the constant support and really find the monthly reviews helpful with Lisa. Coming up with new ideas at this time was daunting at first but having Lisa support and encourage new ideas has been great!”

New Care have partnered with Oomph! for 3 years, providing wellbeing training and ongoing support for the teams at the care provider’s homes. This enables staff to deliver a wide range of activities and exercise sessions to engage residents mentally, physially and emotionally.

For more information, or to find out more about our virtual training and resources, please email hello@oomph-wellness.org

Oomph! Culture Series: Mind, Body & Soul

By | Care Home

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.

The first topic in our Culture mini-series is: Mind, Body & Soul. 

Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. There are plenty of online cultural resources that we can use to help stimulate the mind, body and soul. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators,  tells us how we can use culture for wellbeing…

Mind

For any thespians, how about using the Royal Shakespeare Companies online resources.

Tres bien! Learning new skills is a great way to feel a sense of achievement – try using the Duo Lingo website here

For budding authors, try creating your own short stories, follow the simple how to here. Consider showcasing the stories and sharing them. Could you put the stories on a board or in a book, or online?

Body

Laughter is a great stress relief, and works muscles. Try laughter yoga with the example video here. For even more laughter, how about reading funny limericks, like the ones here.

Or, how about trying some Tongue Twisters, like the ones here.

Soul

Try listening to audio poems on the Poetry Foundations website, or perhaps explore online galleries & exhibitions like the V&A here.

For a virtual twist on your local area, use Google Earth here to look at the areas where you grew up & see how these places have changed. See what stories there are to be told!

 

Care home residents share their VE Day stories to celebrate 75 years

By | Care Home

To celebrate the 75th anniversary of VE Day, care homes across the UK will be honouring the day on the 8th May. To mark the occasion, residents at Parkfield House Nursing Home, part of Canford Healthcare, have shared their VE Day stories with us.

Aarti, the Wellbeing Coordinator at the home, said: “We have taken VE day into account as it is 75 years, and for many of our residents it is a memorable time of the year. We have started preparation, from decorations, to creating our own display boards – we like to decorate the home with the union jack decorations to symbolise VE Day. We have used the Oomph! VE Day resources pack and residents have inputted and shared their memorable stories of the day.”

Read on for some of the heartfelt stories from Parkfield’s residents…

 

For more information, or to find out more about our virtual resources, please email hello@oomph-wellness.org

Oomph! Sensory Series: Music Memories

By | Care Home

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.

The fourth topic in our Sensory mini-series is: Music Memories.  Music that is attached to memories can provide a total brain workout! Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators,  tells us more…

Did you know?

Listening to music can improve sleep quality, mental alertness, mood and memory. It can also help reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain.

Try this…

Encourage residents or their family & friends to explore songs from their lives. For example, a song which reminds them of a loved one or a song played at a wedding. The songs chosen will help build a playlist of life which will be attached to memories. The playlists will support engagements by evoking memories. Residents or their friends / families can use this template to get them started.

If the situation permits, you could try a group activity of “Guess the Intro”, which is linked to residents’ Playlists of Life. Residents have to guess which resident the playlist is attached to.

Try creating a biography with a resident, which links songs to emotions & memories, for example; a song that makes you happy, a song that makes you excited or a song that makes you relax. We have created a template here, for you to use.

Top Tip

By using a headphone and a splitter cable, you can make the engagement more private, intimate and block out any background noise.

Heart-warming Stories That Are Spreading Positivity During Lockdown

By | Care Home

Although many older adults across the country are being affected enormously by the current Covid-19 situation, there are positive stories of love, light and laughter being shared online during the outbreak. 

We’ve seen plenty of articles, videos and photos of happy moments happening across the UK, so we thought we’d share some of our favourites from the care homes we work with and beyond…

Keeping active

It’s more important than ever to keep fit and active from home. Just take inspiration from some of the care homes we work with who wont let anything stop them from Oomphing…

In the current climate, adapting Oomph! exercise sessions to follow social distancing rules means that residents can still feel that party atmosphere from their rooms. The team at Whitefriars Care Home, Orders of St John Care Trust, adapt Oomph! exercise sessions during isolation period, and Four Ways, WCS Care, keep up their Oomph! sessions from a safe distance.

Other homes have been using their Oomph! Sport training to mix up fitness sessions – The Grove, Country Court Care, keep fit with an Oomph! Sport Volleyball game and Hopton Cottage make use of their Oomph! Sport learning to adapt games for 1:1s. 

Meanwhile, Lostock Lodge, Country Court Care, have been Pedalling for Paramedics, as well as keeping up their Oomph! exercise sessions!

Staying positive

As well as keeping active, other homes we work with have been turning to singing, dancing and other activities to engage the mind, body and soul…

Sing-alongs have proved a great way to raise spirits and keep a sense of community – Abbey Dale Court, Abbey Healthcare, turned their reception into a dancefloor for staff and residents and Cooperscroft, TLC, had a sing-along to lift spirits, whilst staff and residents at Parkfield, Canford, told us not to worry and be happy, with a Bob Marley sing-along.

Meanwhile, The Orchard, Caring Homes, have made pompoms of hope and happiness for their fence and Longfield Manor, Sussex Healthcare, get creative with a life-size version of hungry hippos!

In the news…

And it’s not just the homes we work with that have been boosting morale – from inspirational fundraisers, to community spirit, and good, old-fashioned fun and games, here’s what other people across the UK are up to…

100-year old war veteran, Captain Tom, has gained international recognition after raising millions of pounds for the NHS with laps around his garden. Children have lit up a Barchester Care Home with special messages, and a game of Care Home Kerplunk boosted morale at one care home in Yeovil.

The Care Workers Charity is working hard to raise much-needed funds to supply grants for careworkers in need – they have already raised over £800,000 towards their target from over 2000 supporters (but still need your help to award grants to those who need them!). Find out more and donate here. 

A Message of Thanks website has been introduced to say thank you to all the Carers, Nurses, Social Workers and Care Managers working throughout the UK to keep our loved ones safe.

Plus, some great news came from Sport England, with the release of their Active Lives report which found that older adult physical activity levels were at a record high pre-pandemic.
And finally, care home residents across the UK tell the world to keep on smiling!

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

Engaging Virtual Support For Resident Wellbeing

By | Care Home

“Things are different but it’s amazing how you adapt – thank you for all the good activity resources, it makes our job a lot easier, and a bit more fun!” – Activity Coordinator

At a time when the care sector is being affected enormously by the current Covid-19 situation, resident wellbeing is even more important than ever. Without friends, family and external entertainment coming into the home, or regular trips out for residents to explore their communities, residents might be feeling disconnected from their loved ones and the outside world. At the same time, teams are under increasing time and resource pressure.

In response to this, Oomph! have developed a Virtual Wellbeing Support Programme to drive resident engagement during these challenging times, whilst alleviating pressure on teams to free up their time.

Beyond generating free content that is shared across our social channels and website news feed to offer support to the care sector, Oomph! are also able to offer two options:

  • Weekly resources and templates, emailed directly to homes for 12 weeks
  • A tailored support package for a 12 week programme of Wellbeing mentoring and advice, in addition to the above weekly resources

Fresh, varied ideas each week

Weekly resources are provided via email to each home to encourage wider team engagements and quick wins for teams. A log in to our Wellbeing Resources Hub also enables homes to see all content from previous weeks. This includes:

  • A quick-win activity idea for every day, complete with helpful instruction links and printable templates
  • Oomph! Digest “newspaper”, with fun facts, music suggestions and trivia for residents to read independently or 1:1
  • Printable activity books full of themed puzzles, adult colouring, facts, writing challenges, mindfulness and more
  • Fun exercise session streams to relevant music
  • Top tips from our Oomph! skills workshops – so far we have covered Oomph! Nature and Oomph! Sensory
  • Printable exercise programmes, categorised into stages for different abilities
  • Useful templates, focusing around maintaining connections and engaging residents who may be isolating in their rooms

Maintaining person-centered wellbeing

As well as receiving weekly resources, homes can opt to also receive tailored virtual support. Our team of expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators are working directly with homes, via phone or video call, to support them based on their individual challenges.

During each virtual support session, a list of areas where support is required is compiled, pinpointing what is most needed during this time. The calls then involve mentoring and fact finding, followed by practical implementation of agreed output to support wellbeing for residents. The team at Oomph! have been creating:

  • Personalised activity booklets for residents, to be used by any member of the team. These are called “My Times” and are developed around each resident’s interests
  • Balanced wellbeing planners
  • Posters and invites for upcoming activities
  • Newsletters for sharing activities
  • Quick-win activities specifically based on resident interests within the home
  • Personalised reminiscence packs

Alongside this, the team are providing advice for maintaining and utilising community connections, using and improving life stories, guidance for skype sessions with relatives, and feedback on current activities, as well as planning virtual tours for residents.

These tools and support ensure that person-centered and varied wellbeing provision is maintained within homes, even during this difficult period – providing relief for stretched teams and fresh ideas to keep residents engaged and interested.

 

Don’t just take our word for it…

Here’s some feedback from a few of the homes we support:

“During the Covid-19 lockdown, Jack from Oomph! has been invaluable, the phone calls not only offer guidance and ideas, but Jack also manages to offer the same level of support and reassurance without the face to face contact we had before. Jack takes a lot of the pressure off!” – Head of Activities

“The My Times you have created are great. The one you did for a resident with an interest in baking – she loves it. She keeps picking it up and telling everyone to look at her ‘jam tart’ recipe!” – Home Manager

“We have found that the resources sent over were helpful and would love to receive more My Times.” – Home Manager

“With this initial meeting only, it feels already like we now have a backbone, a working frame in place and a better sense of direction for a high standards activities programme.” – Wellbeing Coordinator

 

For more information on the service and accessible monthly costings, please contact us at hello@oomph-wellness.org

Photo taken at Park View Care Home

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