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Oomph! Wellness

New Care adds Oomph! to its activities programmes

By Care Home, Out and about

Fast growing care home operator, New Care, is adding extra ‘oomph’ to its already outstanding daily wellbeing and activities programmes.

The forward thinking care provider has teamed up with us to enhance mental, physical and emotional wellbeing. All New Care homes now have a number of specially trained in-house Oomphers who deliver the complete Oomph! programme for residents including exercise classes, one-to-one sessions and regular meaningful days out.

Offering many benefits including a reduction in isolation and improved social interaction, mental stimulation and physical mobility, the programme has been exceptionally well received and is now a firm favourite with residents in all homes, who look forward to the daily and weekly classes and exciting excursions.

Chief operating officer at New Care, Cath Fairhurst, commented: “Oomph! is all about making the residents happy and providing them with enjoyment and opportunities to socialise while promoting health and wellbeing. Our residents look forward to the Oomph! sessions and we usually have a full room for every class.

“We’ve even seen a huge difference in some residents who did not participate before we introduced Oomph!; it has significantly improved their quality of life and they are regulars at the classes and first to sign up for the days out which is great.”

A resident said: “Oomph! is wonderful, it’s something different every day so we never know what to expect. One day we’re dancing to music with scarves and pom poms and the next day we’re on a day trip to the seaside! It’s all thoroughly enjoyable, well organised and brings us all together for good fun.”

 

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

Sports Governing Bodies Launch New Scheme To Beat Older Adult Inactivity And Loneliness With Fun And Games

By Community

Oomph! are partnering with professional bodies for volleyball, weightlifting, orienteering and boccia to bring healthy competition to over 55s.

The national governing bodies for volleyball, weight lifting, orienteering and boccia are today launching revamped versions of their games to attract over 55s to sport thanks to a ground-breaking partnership with Oomph!.

We aim to tackle inactivity and loneliness with our national plan to get 27,000 older adults doing regular, fun exercise within two years. Training is already well underway for workers and volunteers in venues catering for independent older adults such as retirement villages and housing associations – equipping them with the skills, knowledge and adapted equipment to run sports classes with an element of healthy competition. Venues from Lancashire to Hertfordshire will start running modified sports classes this week.

All activities have been designed to be run by instructors, who will undergo comprehensive training from Oomph!, and without expensive regulation equipment and facilities. Volleyball England has approved a fabric covered inflatable ball and bunting in place of an official net; British Weight Lifting has designed resistance exercises using foam pool noodles and recommends the use of everyday objects such as water bottles as hand weights; British Orienteering is helping venues to create walking (or marching) courses which use post boxes and other local landmarks as checkpoints and Boccia England has taken the principles of a Paralympic sport and modified them for older adult settings, for example by suggesting the use of bean bags in place of specialist bowling balls. Other sports’ National Governing Bodies are now in discussions with Oomph! about versioning their games for this growing demographic.

Ben Allen, CEO of Oomph! said, “By ‘gamifying’ exercise for older adults we’re making it fun and sociable rather than functional. We already use sports rather than pure exercise to motivate previously reluctant participants to join our classes on a regular basis. However, this new combination of Oomph!’s expertise with the appeal and competitive edge of professional sports bodies, is game-changing.”

Peter Hart, CEO of British Orienteering commented, “At British Orienteering we are proud to be a sport that encompasses a wide age group, we have active members in their 90s, but working with Oomph! is the first time we have adapted many of our introductory activities to work with inactive older adults. It’s my belief that orienteering can offer older adults a fantastic mix of physical and mental exercise by adapting the challenge to suit their abilities.”

Gillian Harrison, Technical and Talent Coordinator at Volleyball England commented, “We are always keen for people to join the volleyball family because we know that everyone can get involved and benefit socially and physically – volleyball is the sport for everybody. Sitting Volleyball is one of the disciplines of volleyball which is already popular and a great chance for players with and without a disability to play together. So, we jumped at the chance to work with the experts at Oomph! to provide an adapted form of the game for the older age group. Their knowledge of how older adults could benefit from an active lifestyle made it easy to develop the concept of armchair volleyball.”

Zoe Metcalfe Head of Workforce at British Weight Lifting commented, “British Weight Lifting is delighted to partner with Oomph! on this exciting new initiative. This is the first time that weight lifting has been adapted to this age group and we have developed an innovative programme that is engaging and fun.”

Among the first providers to run Oomph! in the Community are Quantum, a retirement living provider, who are running the newly revamped sports classes in its daycare centres in Hertfordshire.

Maria Ball, CEO of Quantum Care commented, “At Quantum Care we are always looking for new and exciting ways to encourage our day-care users and residents to stay healthy, active and full of fun.  This is why we are so pleased to be partnering with Oomph! to train 48 members of the Quantum Care team to deliver exciting and impactful exercise sessions for older adults in Hertfordshire.

“Once our staff complete their training we will be offering exercise sessions across 16 care homes and will be encouraging the local community to join us in our efforts to help keep the people we care for, and the people of Hertfordshire, active and healthy”.

Sport England has put tackling inactivity at the heart of its strategy and launched the Active Ageing fund to tackle inactivity in the over 55s. Mike Diaper, Executive Director at Sport England said:

“Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age. We’re delighted to be supporting Oomph! with National Lottery funding to help get older adults to lead happier and heathier lives. We’ll be sharing learnings so successful approaches can be scaled-up or replicated across the country.”

 

Photo credit: Anson Court, Quantum Care

 

For more information on Oomph! in community settings, please email david@oomph-wellness.org

Sport England Active Ageing Initiative gains traction as Oomph! and Places for People get active in the community

By Community

Oomph! are partnering with Places for People Living+, a leading specialist supported housing provider in the UK, to train staff, volunteers and customers.

This is part of the Sport England subsidised programme, which aims to get 27,000 over 55s from inactive to active within the next two years. The pioneering partnership enables 12 Living+ venues across the North West and 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 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!

One Oomph! course attendee said “This course was so much fun and I hope other customers enjoy Oomph! as much as I do!”

Suzanne Porter, Living+ Services Manager for Later Life said “We are excited to be partnering with Oomph! as part of this initiative to help get more of our older customers active. We have thoroughly enjoyed the training so far and look forward to getting out into more of our communities to deliver a range of fun activities which improve the health and wellbeing of the people we support”.

Glenis Griffin, Living+ Housing and Wellbeing Advisor and instructor, said “Oomph! has already made such a difference to our customers, improving their mobility and fitness whilst having a great time. It makes my job so worthwhile when I hear our customers laugh and see the results the activities are having”.

Ben Allen, Oomph!’s CEO, said: “Oomph! are excited to be working with the Places for People Living+ team. It is a privilege to be a key partner and support their wellbeing initiatives across their communities. We are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to exercise sessions, and look forward to working together over the coming months!”

Loneliness… Not just on Valentine’s Day!

By Community

On a day when love is celebrated across the world, it seems apt to examine the other side of the coin: loneliness.

The appointment of Tracey Crouch as the Minister for Loneliness highlights its increasing public profile. And rightly so, as illustrated by the now much used statistic that loneliness is as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, it’s not just the depth of the problem that’s staggering – it’s also the scale. Although not a problem exclusive to those in later life, a recent English Longtitudinal ageing study found that 1.2m people over 65 in the UK are persistently or chronically lonely.

Much has been done across the public and VCS sector, with excellent initiatives, such as the Campaign to End Loneliness and the Jo Cox Foundation, grappling with the complexities of the loneliness. Thanks to their work, it has become clear that there is no silver bullet to fix the problem. Instead, it requires collaboration on a national, local and individual level, with many organisations bringing potential solutions to the table.

Although loneliness is often associated with people living in their own homes, it is also rife in settings where a person may be surrounded by other older people. This is illustrated in Care Homes, covered by an excellent blog written by Tim Owen. Furthermore, going into sheltered housing does not ‘guard against’ loneliness (as might be expected by family members) – studies have shown little differences in the levels of loneliness across settings.

So, how can we combat loneliness?

  • Concentrate on the positives. Older adults need to enjoy themselves, to do what they like doing – this could be attending a drawing class in a care home, a game of seated volleyball in their communal sheltered lounge, or going on a trip to the beach. This means bringing activity to an audience that doesn’t always know what’s possible, in environments they are used to, led by people they trust – improving likelihood of engagement.
  • Provide opportunities for meaningful volunteering. Contribution plays a part in improving self-esteem and provides valuable opportunities for social engagement. This means focusing on what people can achieve, not focusing on their problem now. Give older people a net with which to fish, rather than just providing the fish.

From doing these two things, Oomph! have seen some positive results so far – EQ-5D improvements have been encouraging (13% increase compared to ELSA comparisons), but through the rigorous academic study of our community work, we hope to tease out more on the mental and social impact.

One exercise session a week may not may not solve the loneliness issue – no single solution will. But ensuring there are enjoyable and easily accessible opportunities for social engagement will certainly improve the lives of many older people. We’re committed to positive ageing and to end loneliness. That would bring joy to our hearts on Valentines Day!

To learn more, please contact david@oomph-wellness.org

 

SOURCE: Burholt, V., Nash, P. and Philips, J. 2013. The impact of supported living environments on social resources and the experience of loneliness for older widows living in Wales: An exploratory mediation analysis Family Science 4(1): 121-132

NorseCare’s £20,000 Comic Relief grant to assist in transforming wellbeing culture through Oomph!

By Care Home

We are excited to announce our new partnership with NorseCare, who have won a £20,000 grant from Comic Relief to develop the skills and confidence of staff in five of their residential care homes, through Oomph!.

This will support a change in culture and create vibrant, creative communities. Residents will help design and take part in person-centered activities and exercise, having fun, keeping healthy and active and playing a valuable part in the life of their community.

NorseCare Staff will be trained by us to provide sessions at the homes which will focus on ensuring people are happy and engaged in purposeful activity that they enjoy. Some expected outcomes are that the number of falls people have may reduce, their sleeping patterns may improve and residents and staff will have more fun together.

Up to 150 residents plus 200 NorseCare staff will be invited to take part. Families will be encouraged to participate in the programme, resulting in improved engagement and relationships resulting in the creation of lovely memories together.

NorseCare’s Director of Care, Ann Reynolds explained how the programme will work: “We already have good strong links with local community groups for one-off activities such as school visits, fetes and gardening clubs, but we want to learn the best way of developing new, regular and sustainable relationships with special interest and activity groups for mutual benefit, as well as ensuring that every resident who lives in a NorseCare home enjoys every day. We believe this approach will foster new friendships and interests and stimulate our residents, promoting greater levels of happiness, reduced social isolation and feelings of loneliness.”

“This Comic Relief grant enables us to use some specific expertise from Oomph! Wellness, who we know have a great track record of producing beneficial outcomes for many different groups of people.”

Ben Allen, Oomph!’s CEO added: “Oomph! are delighted to have the opportunity to partner with NorseCare to engage staff and residents in an exciting activity and exercise programme. It is a privilege to be a key partner and support their drive for excellence across all homes. We share the same values and are thrilled to be adding additional fun and engagement to residents’ activities, to create happy, energised communities.”

All of NorseCare’s other homes will benefit over time as the learning is cascaded. “Champions” from the 5 homes in the initial project will share what they learn from the pilot across all NorseCare care homes and housing with care schemes.

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

Oomph! supports the Care Innovation Challenge

By Care Home, Community, Out and about

The care sector currently faces a multitude of challenges, presenting problems which are only due to worsen with an ageing population.

We want to find some answers.

This is why Oomph! are supporting the Care Innovation Challenge, a competition designed to kick start new ideas and solutions for the care sector through inviting students from a range of disciplines to think broadly on ways to create positive change. There’s still time to apply to take part here.

Taking place on the 17th – 18th February, teams will spend 2 days at our HQ in Wimbledon, where there will be intensive ideas generation, development and prototyping. All teams will present to judges from the care sector on the Sunday afternoon, where the top five teams will be supported with four intense weeks of mentoring and funding to test and trial their project and newly forming business.

The top five teams will return to Oomph! HQ on Saturday 17th of March to present their work and findings where ideas and people will be matched with funding and pilot opportunities.

Ben Allen, Oomph!’s CEO, said:

“The care sector will be responsible for the health, wellbeing and quality of life of an increasing number of older adults in the decades ahead. In order to undertake this challenge we need great ideas and innovation from dynamic and driven people who build mission-led organisations that create positive change.”

For more information, please visit www.careinnovationchallenge.com

Balhousie puts some Oomph! into its care homes with innovative partnership

By Care Home, Out and about

We are excited to be working with award-winning care home group Balhousie to put some Oomph! into the sector, making them the first organisation in Scotland to sign up to an activity programme with a difference. Balhousie Care Group operates 25 care homes in Scotland, and has linked up with us to deliver engaging exercise and activity programmes for residents.

Our mission is to improve the wellbeing of older adults, and we will work with Balhousie’s 25 care homes, offering fun exercise and activity sessions, as well as monthly trips out for residents, to a wide range of destinations in customised minibuses. The trips are personalised and include intensive training by Oomph! staff within each care home.

The collaboration is the latest move in Balhousie Care Group’s mission to be a trailblazer in the care home sector, delivering individualised care for residents. The Perth-based group has been tackling issues such as dementia and loneliness in innovative ways, from virtual reality technology to therapy with pets. Balhousie also ensures that its residents and family members have a say in their care, and care strategy.

Oomph! has already been delivering services in England with great success, set up by founder Ben Allen – a specialist in exercise for older adults – after he realised a gap in the market for providing better adult social care.

Louise Barnett, Operations Director for Balhousie Care, said:
“We’re delighted to be the pioneers of Oomph! programmes in Scotland, and the innovative ways they promote fitness and wellness. We know our residents will benefit hugely from Oomph!’s activities. This organisation’s philosophies are very much in line with ours, which are to look at care and wellness in unorthodox, exciting ways.”

Ben Allen, Chief Executive for Oomph!, said:
“Oomph! are excited to have the opportunity to work with the team at Balhousie, one of the leading care groups in the UK. It is a privilege to be a key partner and support their drive for innovation and excellence across all homes. We share the same values and entrepreneurial spirit and are delighted to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident’s activities.”