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Care Home

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

Oomph! Sensory Series: Engaging The Sense Of Touch

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 Sensory mini-series is: Engaging the sense of touch

Jack Mckechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators,  tells us more…

These simple exercises with a ball are fun and inclusive to all. Benefits include supporting dexterity, hand strength and overall movement. Over time this can stimulate better circulation, reducing stiffness and improving flexibility.

These exercises can be a great way to promote breathing. As you move the ball up or down a part of the body, either inhale or exhale.

 

Oomph! Sensory Series: The Psychology of Colours

By Care Home

During unprecedented times and at a time when the care sector is being affected enormously by the current Coronavirus situation, resident wellbeing is even more important than ever.  As part of this Oomph! are keen to support care homes with stimulating and varied content for resident engagement. We will be 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 Sensory mini-series is: The Psychology of Colours

Colour psychology is the study of the effect that colours have on the moods, behaviours and feelings of people. Jack, our Regional Wellbeing Coordinator, tells us more…

 

Blue

Blue can help individuals feel calmer and supports with rest. Therefore, blue is used in bedrooms and quiet areas. Strong blues will stimulate clear thought and lighter blues will calm the mind and aid concentration. Blue is mentally calming & it is the colour of clear communication. Blues make a room feel bigger & blue objects do not appear to be as close to us as red ones.

Green

This is the colour of earth and is associated with growth and life. Green is thought to reduce activity in the central nervous system and help people feel calmer. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Green is  the colour of balance as it is at the centre of the spectrum. It is the combination of yellow and blue, therefore it is both calming and optimistic.

Yellow

Yellow is the strongest colour psychologically because it is the colour of the mind & intellect.  It is the colour of confidence, and the right yellow will lift our spirits and our self-esteem. Yellow is a key stimulating colour, and is used in activity areas to increase brainwave activity. Stimulating colours are good for those living with Alzheimer’s as the can trigger memories and cognitive function

Red

The colour red affects us physically, therefore stimulating us and raising our pulse rates. Red can give people the impression that time is passing faster. It relates to the masculine principle and can activate the “fight or flight” instinct. Red also stimulates brain wave activity and the production of adrenaline. This warm colour has the opposite effect to blue, making a room feel smaller. It is often used for rooms that are cool in temperature.

 

Why not use the below colours in your activities to achieve a desired outcome or response? For example, if you are focusing on relaxion with a resident, you may choose cooler colours. You could also use the colours creatively within your planners, posters or newsletters to achieve a greater impact.

20 Ways To Look After Care Home Residents’ Wellbeing During Lockdown

By Care Home

During unprecedented times and at a time when the care sector is being affected enormously by the current Coronavirus situation, resident wellbeing is even more important than ever.  As part of this Oomph! are keen to support care homes with stimulating and varied content for resident engagement. We will be releasing resources to our Wellbeing Resources Hub over coming weeks. 

At the moment, a focus on resident wellbeing is vital, to combat feelings of anxiety, uncertainty, restlessness and disconnection. Our Regional Wellbeing Coordinator, Jade, explores 20 ways of improving resident wellbeing whilst the UK is on Covid-19 lockdown…

 

Connect with other people.

In a time where residents are unable to have external visitors, or leave the care home to go on trips to local destinations, it is more important than ever for residents to connect with other people. This builds relationships, which is vital for mental wellbeing.

It can create a sense of belonging and worth, give you and others an opportunity to share experiences and provide emotional support. Things you can do:

Support positive mealtime experiences. This may be the only time residents are socialising, and it may be with a carer if they are isolating in their room. Playing personalised music or media could prompt organic conversations between residents or residents and carers – use this template to gather a resident’s Top 10 hits.

Make the most of all 1:1 visits. Keyworkers can support this initiative – perhaps a list of quick, simple activities could be provided in rooms based on each resident’s life story to promote engagement. These could be as simple as some quiz questions or relevant discussion prompts.

Implement initiatives such as ‘laughter yoga’. A fun and simple way to connect with others, whilst also giving an abdominal workout AND improving your mental health! Learn more and try it out here. 

Utilise technology. During this time, residents may really miss their loved ones. Video calling in particular has the advantage of allowing us to see others’ facial expressions and body language. Consider writing some discussion prompts beforehand – ideally person centered – to help facilitate conversation.

Create a Virtual Lounge. You could open up slots for family members or friends to book to speak with their relatives via platforms such as Zoom, Skype, FaceTime and Whatsapp. How about creating a virtual visiting lounge where residents can take it in turns to use a room to catch up with their loved ones?

Create virtual events. Instead of cancelling your usual clubs and events, try hosting them online instead. This can bring together friends, family and community contacts. How about a quiz or a sing-along (Care Home karaoke!)?

Post it. Ask residents to write postcards, either to send to other care homes, residents’ friends, families or the local nursery or school. Here is a template we have put together to use.

 

Give to others.

Acts of giving and kindness can improve your mental wellbeing by creating positive feelings and a sense of reward, providing a feeling of purpose and self-worth and helpings to connect with others. Things you can try:

Giving praise. To someone for something they have done for you or others. See if any residents have any praise for the team members who have been working extra hard at the moment, make a note and share (if they are happy for you to do so of course!).

Listen. Asking someone how they are and show that you are really listening to their response. For residents who are isolating in their rooms – is there anything they would like to engage with, such as puzzles, poetry or some calming adult colouring? How could this be themed to their interests?

Deliver ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ throughout the home. This could include baking treats for someone in the home, bringing in a resident’s favourite food or newspaper, donating flowers for the residents, and making care packages together for the vulnerable in your community. How about writing positive letters to other care homes, or a local nursery?

Learn New Skills.

Learning new skills can improve your mental wellbeing by raising self esteem, creating a sense of purpose and achievement and helping to connect with others. Things you can do:

The kitchen team could host cooking demonstrations. Teaching individuals new culinary skills! These could be filmed and streamed for any residents who are isolating. Or, perhaps you could use YouTube to find demonstrations from residents’ favourite celebrity chefs – we’ve found Jamie Oliver, and Nigella Lawson.

Learn a new skill together. Perhaps knitting, playing a musical instrument, drawing, painting, computer skills, vlogging, learning a new language or pottery. YouTube will be a great help here!

TED talks are a great way of learning. You could set up a weekly TED talks club, based on ideas from staff and residents, streaming the chosen TED talk 1:1 with each resident. Check out the videos here. 

Utilise hobbies, skills and talent from the wider team. Staff could run virtual how-to sessions for residents based on their interests – such as sewing, flower arranging and even gaming! You can start virtual clubs that meet regularly – for example, a cross-stitch club or a book club.

 

Be physically active.

Being active is not only great for fitness, but evidence shows it is also great for mental wellbeing. It can improve self esteem, help individuals achieve goals and release endorphins that can help to positively change your mood. Things you can do:

Follow exercise programmes. Find exercise plans for residents to follow independently or 1:1 if appropriate – we have released 5 FREE programmes here

Implement some physical activity games, to be done 1:1. These could include ring toss, balloon games, target practice or skittles. Ensure you follow your organisation’s guidelines for this in the current climate.

Start a sports club or championship. You could start with slipper soccer, seeing how many goals a resident can score in 2 minutes. This can easily be implemented through a series of 1:1s with residents who are isolating. We have created an Oomph!-lympics Leaderboard template for your very own Olympic Games!

Set achievable daily goals and highlight achievements. This can be done as part of your Resident of the Day initiative! The wider team at the home can help residents achieve goals during daily care duties.

 

Pay attention to the present moment.

Focusing more on the present can improve your mental wellbeing. This includes your thoughts, feelings and body. This type of awareness is called ‘Mindfulness’, and it can positively change the way you feel about life and how you approach challenges. Things you can try:

Guided Meditation. Taking your residents on a visual journey can help them to forget their troubles and focus on the now.

Breathing exercises. These can decrease stress and relax the mind and body, and help residents to sleep better. Try out box breathing using these instructions. 

 

You can view all of our Wellbeing resources here. 

Oomph! Sensory Series: Experiencing the World

By Care Home

During unprecedented times and at a time when the care sector is being affected enormously by the current Coronavirus situation, resident wellbeing is even more important than ever.  As part of this Oomph! are keen to support care homes with stimulating and varied content for resident engagement. We will be 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 Sensory mini-series is: Experiencing the World through the senses. 

Engaging different senses will enable you to person center activities to different needs, abilities and preferences. You can discover what residents like, stimulate their minds and prompt reminiscence and discussion. Here are the five senses, what these mean and how you can engage residents with each.

Sight (Visual Stimulation)

The eyes are the organ of sight. Vision is perhaps our most important sense, the one through which we gain most of our information.

Try experimenting with lighting – how about some gentle lighting to relax? Use reminiscent images & photos to spark discussion, try the BBC Rewind website here. See how residents respond to use of colours, and shiny or reflective materials. How can you use windows or create some wall art together – you could create garlands together to brighten up spaces.

Sound (Auditory Stimulation)

Our ears provides us with our second most vibrant source of sensory stimulation.

Use nature sounds, these can be used to relax or to provoke discussion – such as rainfall, birds, the ocean, or how about this forest sounds track? How about reading poetry with residents, or reading books and articles together? See how you can use music, for example, singing and musical instruments. There is a useful guide for using music for people living with dementia here.

Taste (Gustatory Stimulation)

Nerve endings on our tongue allow us to taste what is in our mouths. In many ways taste is the most pleasurable of our senses.

Use a variety of spices & flavourings, explore warm and cold foods or try out different flavour combinations, such as sweet & sour, sugar & spice. For wine connoisseurs, try hosting a wine tasting. What about finding out a favourite meal or treat?

Touch (Tactile Stimulation)

Touch receptors are located in our skin, but in many other parts of our body as well. Anything touched and anything that touches us can be stimulating. Every solid object has texture, temperature and shape.

How does someone enjoy different textures of blankets & pillows? What about the feel of sponges, squeezy balls, animals or stuffed toys? You could create themed tactile boxes to prompt stimulation, memories and discussion.

Smell (Olfactory Stimulation)

Receptors in our nose provide us with a sense of smell. Some of our strongest memories, our most potent associations, are triggered by odour.

Try using a variety of diffusers & essential oils. Does someone enjoy the smell of fresh flowers – which is their favourite? How about the smell of herbs, twigs and leaves, and the memories that these evoke. The smell of freshly baked bread or coffee, a favourite perfume or cologne, pot pourri. Explore different soaps and hand lotions.

 

Photo: Karuna Manor, TLC Care

Oomph! Nature Series: Mind, Body and Soul

By Care Home

During unprecedented times and at a time when the care sector is being affected enormously by the current Coronavirus situation, resident wellbeing is even more important than ever.  As part of this Oomph! are keen to support care homes with stimulating and varied content for resident engagement. We will be releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops, starting with a digital Oomph! Nature mini-series. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

The second topic in our Nature mini-series is:

Mind, Body and Soul. We’ve suggested 30 ways to improve resident wellbeing through nature. 

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” Albert Einstein.

Mind

Body

  • Nature box – residents have to feel objects in a box which are nature related and guess what they are
  • Create a nature collage – go out into the garden to find items
  • Do some breathing exercises with nature sounds, here are some exercises to get you started
  • Play catch outdoors
  • Make a bird box – some instructions here 
  • Have a hand massage in the garden
  • Sow some seeds
  • Nature themed Oomph! Session
  • Go for a garden walk
  • Sweep the garden
  • Try out some of the RSPB nature activities here

Soul

  • Keep a nature journal. This could be a daily journal and include what residents can see in the garden
  • Nature jokes… What did the big flower say to the small flower? What’s up bud!
  • Bird watching – here is a bird watching guide and a bird identifier  to get you started
  • Nature Poetry. Here are 7 famous nature poems to read together, or try writing your own. These could be included in the newsletter
  • Read positive quotes which relate to the outdoors… “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished”. Here are 45 nature quotes to read and discuss
  • Learn and discover what flowers do
  • Watch nature documentaries – like the Blue Planet II
  • Watch residents’ favourite gardening TV show
  • Listen to the sounds of the beach, the forest or birds singing

Oomph! Nature Series: A Game To Explore The Senses

By Care Home

During unprecedented times and at a time when the care sector is being affected enormously by the current Coronavirus situation, resident wellbeing is even more important than ever.  As part of this Oomph! are keen to support care homes with stimulating and varied content for resident engagement. We will be releasing resources based on our Oomph! skills workshops, starting with a digital Oomph! Nature mini-series. These resources, and more, will be uploaded to our Wellbeing Resources Hub.

The second topic in our Nature mini-series is: Nature and the senses.

This fun game uses Nature to stimulate each sense.

1. What will you will need.

  • A dice
  • A bag
  • Small containers to add the ingredients
  • Ingredients relating to nature, for example cocoa, coffee beans, tea, cumin powder etc

2. The object of the game.

  • Gather some nature inspired ingredients, for example cocoa, curry powder, cumin, coffee beans or garlic powder. Place these in containers into a bag
  • Ask residents to get into pairs and number themselves 1 & 2. Then ask number 1 to close their eyes and give number 2 one of the containers from the bag.
  • The group leader then rolls the dice to reveal a number, the number will correlate to one of the questions below for example, how does it smell? Number 1, with their eyes closed, will then answer the question with the support of number 2. Keep going until number 1 can guess what the ingredient is.
  • Repeat the process with number 1 & 2 swapping roles.

3. Questions.

If you roll a:

1 how does it feel?

2 how does it look?

3 how does it smell?

4 – how might it taste? (but don’t eat it!)

5 – how does it sound?

Roll a 6 and anything goes! (you can choose 1 or 2 from the list above)

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

You can view all of our Oomph! Skills Workshops bitesize resources here.