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Oomph! Wellness

Team Oomph! take on the 3 Peak Challenge

By Care Home, Community, Out and about

When the alarm went off at 4:30am on Friday 13th, it was safe to say no one in the team was particularly excited at the prospect of doing a 24 mile hike.

Loaded up with water, snacks – and some fabulously moist cakes from Apetito – spirits picked up as over 80 people in the care sector set off on the 3 Peaks Challenge, covering Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent.

It was a rewarding day, with beautiful views of the Yorkshire countryside, but most certainly not easy going – there was a downpour of rain on the second peak (scroll down for some particularly damp photos!), treacherous drops, blisters, cramp and broken walking boots (not to mention a lack of phone signal). By lunchtime – over 6 hours in – Team Oomph! was tired, sore and ready to eat our bodyweight in cake provided by the organisers. At the third peak, around 8 hours in, we’d set a nearly impossible pace and could barely speak to each other. Coming in just under 10 hours, we finished with a run to the line and it was all over – we’d never been more deserving of the cold pint and fish and chips devoured at the pub afterwards.

Whilst gruelling, we couldn’t have been walking and climbing for a more worthy cause, and the day provided a great opportunity to meet a wide range of incredible people from the sector, from suppliers to care workers themselves. So far, we’ve raised over £1100 for the Care Workers Charity, but there’s still time to donate here – every pound goes some way in helping care workers in their time of need.

If that wasn’t exciting enough, there’s now talk of Team Oomph! tackling the national 3 Peaks next, so perhaps you should watch this space…

From Cat Cafes to Gin Distilleries: One Year of Out & About

By Care Home, Out and about

With every life change, we reach new milestones and new circumstances are thrust upon us. In early adulthood, most milestones are an opportunity to interact with new people; we land our first job, move to a new house or gain a place at university.

As we get older, our life changes naturally limit our opportunity to socialise; we retire, we stop driving, our children move out. The potential to slow down on social activities and new experiences as we age is apparent, but it shouldn’t be the reality.

Remaining socially active and maintaining community relationships supports us all to maintain good physical and emotional health. Research suggests that participating in meaningful social activities enhances brain health, lowers the risk of high blood pressure and even lowers the risk of dementia.

May 2018 marked a year since we launched our trips service – designed to break down the barrier between care homes and the outside world.  The service provides regular meaningful outings, supporting older adults to maintain social activities – nurturing existing community relations and building new ones.

In just a year we have seen our reach increase exponentially:

  • We now run 5 x more trips a month than when we started
  • Our fleet of buses has expanded from 3 to 13 (and still counting!)
  • We’ve taken 7000 residents on 2000+ trips, and created countless smiles

Our conductors are the essence of Oomph!, delivering inclusive and interactive trips tailored to the interests and needs of any group of individuals. Neil Thomson, our Devon conductor, gives an insight into the impact getting out and about has:

“On a recent visit to Plymouth Hoe, we had a swimming enthusiast who mentioned she hadn’t been in the water in years. Given she had already swum the channel, we couldn’t let the opportunity slip for her to have a paddle… 96 is never too old for a dip! It’s wonderful to see residents getting out of the home and re-engaging in their hobbies and interests.”

From Cat Cafes to gin distilleries, we’ve seen the incredible benefits that trips have, from enhancing mood and wellbeing to reigniting individual passions our impact remains our driving force. Furthermore, our increasing presence in the wider community has raised the profile of Oomph!, positioning us as a credible partner for the likes of HQ theatres and The National Trust.

We have had a wonderful year empowering older adults to get out and about – creating wonderful memories and new experiences. We look forward to furthering our impact as we grow… About to place 5 new buses on the road and with plans to expand our fleet by a further 16 buses by March 2019.

Be sure to give us a wave if you see us on the road (you can’t miss us!)…

For more information, please email hello@oomph-wellness.org

 

Sources:

https://www.agrhodes.org/blog-post/older-adults-and-the-importance-of-social-interaction/

https://www.ageuk.org.uk/information-advice/health-wellbeing/mind-body/staying-sharp/looking-after-your-thinking-skills/social-connections-and-the-brain/

Borough Care Residents Get Out And About With Oomph!

By Care Home, Out and about

We are now partnering with Borough Care, the largest not for profit provider of care for older people in Stockport, to provide its residents with more day trips out to destinations further afield. Borough Care will work with us to offer residents regular visits to places of interest.

Each of Borough Care’s eleven homes will participate in one Oomph! trip each month. Recent trips have included a day at the seaside in Blackpool, a chance to see the animals at Chester Zoo and a visit to Knowsley Safari Park.

Commenting on the Oomph! partnership, Sophie Gardiner, Area Support at Borough Care, says: “At Borough Care, we believe people should continue to do the things they love and that a person’s life shouldn’t come to a standstill when they move to a care home. We are committed to providing a wide range of activities, to ensure our residents live an enriched life and are able to participate in everything they wish. The link up with Oomph! offers people the chance to get out and about in a safe environment.”

Matt Hamblin, Senior Business Manager at Oomph!, says: “We are excited to partner with Borough Care, to ensure that all residents live a full life for life. Research shows there are proven health and wellbeing benefits of continuing to get outdoors as you get older so we are delighted to be able to provide this service for Borough Care residents.”

The health and wellbeing benefits to Borough Care residents participating in the Oomph! trips include: the excitement of doing something different; the opportunity to reminisce by revisiting places they may not have visited for many years; improving relationships with fellow residents through shared experiences; and spending more time outdoors in the fresh air, which is beneficial to both a person’s physical and mental health.

Mayflower care homes given some Oomph! with new wellbeing partnership!

By Care Home

We are partnering with Mayflower Care Communities, an award winning UK Care Group, to deliver awesome exercise classes and creative activities for their residents.

Taking a whole-home approach to activities, staff in Mayflower care homes have been trained in Oomph!’s Wellbeing Leadership programme. This will ensure that they are equipped with everything they need to create and sustain a person-centred plan of varied exercise and activities that residents love. The training is tailored to each home, and focuses on meeting and exceeding regulator requirements.

The programme also includes a series of skills workshops, including Oomph! Music, which has been developed by experienced music therapist, Stuart Wood MBE PhD, in partnership with Oomph!. The workshops aim to bring music therapy to a range of different abilities and provide residents and staff the opportunity to try something new, or rediscover lost passions. Residents will soon be playing fun and engaging musical games, and will have the opportunity to join in with choir groups created as a result of the workshops. Further workshops will focus on relaxation, nature and sport.

Helen Maiello, Chief Executive Officer of Mayflower, said: “We are thrilled to be working with Oomph on developing our range of activities for those who live with us. Keeping active and healthy, and having fun, are all well-known benefits for a long and healthy life and we want to ensure that our residents are enabled to do this. With Oomph’s expertise and support, I am confident that we will achieve this.

Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! are excited to be working with the Mayflower Care Communities team. It is a privilege to be an integral part of the organisation’s wellbeing provision. We will work in partnership to drive innovation and participation across the two homes and are excited to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident activities!”

 

Mayflower Care Communities have two homes currently open, Pine Martin Grange in Wareham and Bramshott Grange in Liphook

#VolunteersWeek – Celebrating and thanking volunteers across the UK

By Community

Volunteers week takes place between 1st and 7th June every year and is a chance to say thank you to all of the volunteers across the country for their contributions, hard work and dedication.

Volunteers Week has been running since 1984 when it was set up by Volunteering England and is now a nationwide campaign.

NCVO (National Council for Voluntary Organisations) defines volunteering as “any activity that involves spending time, unpaid, doing something that aims to benefit the environment or someone (individuals or groups) other than, or in addition to, close relatives”.

In 2017/18, 20.1 million people in the UK volunteered formally at least once a year, with 11.8 million people doing so at least once a month, a variety of different reasons lying behind this choice. For some, volunteering provides a sense of being part of a team, helps to boost confidence and gives an opportunity to put forward ideas. Others may choose to volunteer to try something new and will use volunteering as a new career path. Volunteering can make a real difference to many people and businesses and is open to anyone – even you!

Volunteers Week is filled with fun and inclusive events. Local school fairs, coffee mornings, cake-a-thon’s, appreciation afternoon tea’s, community walks and even BBQs (if the weather permits)! If you are running an event, shout about it by clicking here.

Social media is a great tool to use for advertising your events and for seeking volunteer opportunities. Use the hashtag #VolunteersWeek to see what everyone is up to and to find current volunteering opportunities across the country. If you have a friend, neighbour, family member or work colleague who is currently volunteering, use your social media to say a big thank you.

Other ways to thank a volunteer are:

  • Appreciation / thank you notes
  • Send a text message or give someone a call
  • Send a gift
  • Say thanks with a voucher
  • Create and send a thank you postcard
  • Organise a surprise thank you party
  • Send a letter
  • Create a volunteer hall of fame

To find out more on how to become a volunteer in an area local to you, simply click here.

Kingsley puts some Oomph! into its care homes with new wellbeing partnership!

By Care Home

We have partnered with Kingsley Healthcare, an award winning, UK Care Group, to deliver awesome exercise classes and creative activities for their residents.

Following a pilot in two homes last November, the wellbeing training is now being rolled out across a further 11 homes in Norfolk, Suffolk, Greater Manchester and Cheshire and Dorset.

Taking a whole-home approach to activities, staff have been trained in our Wellbeing Leadership programme. This will ensure that they are equipped with everything they need to create and sustain a person-centred plan of varied exercise and activities that residents love. The training is tailored to each home, and focuses on meeting and exceeding regulator requirements.

The programme also includes a series of skills workshops, including Oomph! Sport, which has been designed in partnership with key National sports. These partnerships aim to make exercise as engaging as possible, to encourage inactive residents to take up physical activity and try something new – or rediscover lost passions. Further workshops will focus on relaxation, music and nature.

Residents will soon be able to play clock cricket, slipper soccer and armchair volleyball – sports especially adapted to fit the needs and abilities of residents, with the new content ensuring that exercise sessions are continually fresh and exciting.

Kingsley operations director Debbie McGovern said: “We understand how important it is to make daily life in our homes fun and stimulating for the residents.

“As a company we are always keen to invest in the latest technology and training.”

Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! are delighted to be working with the Kingsley team. It is a privilege to be an integral part of the organisation’s wellbeing provision. We will work in partnership to drive innovation and participation across all homes and are excited to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident activities!”

Orchard Care Homes puts some Oomph! into its care homes with innovative partnership!

By Care Home

We are partnering with Orchard Care Homes, a leading UK care group, to deliver ‘awesome’ exercise classes and creative activities for residents, as well as engaging trips out.

A pilot project has been agreed where 7 homes in the North East will embrace the exercise and activity training and 8 homes will now be running 2 trips out per month.

Taking a whole-home approach to activities, staff in 7 Orchard Care Homes have been trained in our Wellbeing Leadership programme. This will ensure that they are equipped with everything they need to create and sustain a person-centred plan of varied exercise and activities that residents love. The training is tailored to each home, and focuses on meeting and exceeding regulator requirements.

The programme also includes a series of skills workshops, including Oomph! Sport, which has been designed in partnership with key national sports. These partnerships aim to make exercise as engaging as possible, to encourage inactive residents to take up physical activity and try something new – or rediscover lost passions. Further workshops will focus on relaxation, music and nature.

Residents will soon be able to play clock cricket, slipper soccer and armchair volleyball – sports especially adapted to fit the needs and abilities of residents, with the new content ensuring that exercise sessions are continually fresh and exciting.

Additionally, engaging days out to a range of destinations will be run for 8 Orchard homes, with added value and variety to trip experiences created through partnerships with the National Trust and HQ Theatres.

The trips aim to connect residents to the people and places that matter most to them – Oomph! trips have previously included unexpected locations, such as gin distilleries, monkey sanctuaries and racing tracks. Getting out and about is an essential part of both mental and physical wellbeing, and Oomph! trips will provide stimulating and fun experiences for both residents and staff alike.

Tracey Tomlinson, Group Head of Sales and Marketing for Orchard Care Homes, says,  “We are really excited about working with Oomph! on an ongoing project to deliver quality activities within our care homes. A broad-reaching and engaging activity programme is one aspect at the heart of home life, and we are keen to see the enhanced positive impact that these additional activity sessions will have on our residents and those living and working within the home.”

Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! is delighted to be working with the Orchard Care Homes team. It is a privilege to be an integral part of the organisation’s activity provision. We share the same values and drive for innovation and are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident activities!”

Oomph! and Quantum Care get active in the community as Sport England Active Ageing initiative continues to grow…

By Community

We are partnering with Quantum Care, a leading Hertfordshire Care Group, to train staff, volunteers and customers as part of a Sport England funding programme, which aims to get 27,000 over 55s from inactive to active within the next two years.

The partnership has been successfully launched, with 16 day care centres across Hertfordshire now able to deliver fun, regular exercise sessions, whilst also engaging the wider community. Every venue is completely committed to the partnership having hosted open house launches last week, to engage both participants and staff.

Attracting national news coverage, close collaboration between Oomph! and Quantum Care has already gained great interest and publicity from both The Telegraph and The Guardian.

The fun-first training incorporates strength, flexibility and coordination, with games such as Slipper Soccer, Armchair Volleyball and Clock Cricket – all adapted from traditional versions of the sports to make them accessible for people with a variety of needs and abilities, whilst retaining gameplay and fun!

Four National Governing bodies for sport have all inputted in the final training content with adapted sports from Volleyball England, British Orienteering, British weightlifting and Boccia to ensure content is flexible and agile to meet all interests.

Maria Ball, Chief Executive of Quantum Care, said: ”At Quantum Care we are always looking for new and exciting ways to encourage our day-centre members and residents to stay healthy, active and full of fun.  This is why we are so pleased to be partnering with Oomph! to deliver exciting and impactful exercise sessions for older people in our homes as well as in our local communities.”

David Terrace, Oomph’s Head of Community Partnerships, said: “Oomph! are excited to be working with the Quantum Care team. It is a privilege to be in partnership and support their wellbeing initiatives across key Hertfordshire venues. We are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to exercise sessions, and look forward to working together over the forthcoming months!”

Sport England Active Ageing kicks off in London as Oomph! and Notting Hill Genesis start new partnership

By Community

We are partnering with Notting Hill Genesis, a leading housing association in the UK, to train staff, volunteers and customers as part of the Sport England funding programme, which aims to get 27,000 over 55s from inactive to active within the next two years. 

Our pioneering partnership enables three sheltered housing and two extra care venues across the South East to deliver fun, regular exercise sessions for customers, whilst also engaging the wider community.

The fun-first training incorporates strength, flexibility and coordination, with games such as Slipper Soccer, Armchair Volleyball and Clock Cricket – all adapted from traditional versions of the sports to make them accessible for people with a variety of needs and abilities, whilst retaining gameplay and fun!

Four national governing bodies for sport have all inputted in the final training content with adapted sports from Volleyball England, British Orienteering, British weightlifting and Boccia to ensure content is flexible and agile to meet all interests.

Linda Strong, Director of care services, said: “The fun and exciting activities organised by Oomph! will be of great benefit to our residents. We know that being more active improves the lives of our older residents and this project will help improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Bringing in the wider community to make the most of this training and introduce new people living in our schemes is the icing on the cake.”

David Terrace, Oomph’s Head of Community Partnerships, said: “Oomph! are excited to be working with the Notting Hill Genesis team. It is a privilege to be in partnership and support their wellbeing initiatives across key London communities. We are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to exercise sessions, and look forward to working together over the forthcoming months!”

Getting outdoors to tackle social isolation head on

By Care Home, Out and about

This year, on the 21st April, Care Home Open Day will be held in thousands of homes across the country for the 6th year running.

The theme of this year is ‘Linking Communities’ and is meant to help homes build relationships with local people and organisations, and – whilst there are clearly benefits to be had by increasing the number of visitors to care homes – I hope that an equal outcome will be that residents of care homes across the country feel closer and better connected to the communities around them as result.

Since I started working in care homes 6 years ago, I have always been aware of the number of barriers faced when supporting residents to stay connected to the communities around their homes. The reasons for this isolation in care might be a lack of transport, fear of leaving a safe environment or more simply, a lack of knowledge of accessible places to go and things that can be done there.

A 2013 study called Greening Dementia found that, whilst only 20% of people living with dementia considered their condition to be a barrier to using outdoor spaces, 83% of care staff believed that dementia limited the person’s ability to do so. This suggests that we aren’t simply facing logistical barriers, but also the misperceptions of those directly delivering care. And so, it is important that we not only provide ways and means of getting out and about, but that we also have a responsibility to raise awareness as to why it’s so vital.

Research has showed that spending as little as 5 minutes in nature, sometimes referred to as ‘a dose of nature’, can be good for health and wellbeing, and – whilst most people would accept that staying indoors for extended periods of time is bad for your health – knowing some of the true benefits that come with adventuring away from of the care environment is something we should all be able to talk about. Benefits such as:

  • A chance for spontaneous social encounters that aren’t possible without leaving the four walls of the home.
  • Opportunities to reminisce by encountering places, smells or sounds that might not have been revisited in a long time.
  • Improved relationships within the home, through shared experiences and personal discoveries, leading to greater empathy through care.
  • Better orientation with nature and the seasons for those who struggle to remember specific times and dates.

Have a look to see if any homes in your area are opening their doors this weekend, and if you’ve already been invited to visit a home this Care Home Open Day, then make sure you return the favour! Let residents and staff know about other community events they could attend or offer to join them as a volunteer on their next outing away from the home.

For more information, please email benjamin@oomph-wellness.org