In the spirit of Create-mas, we’re showcasing residents’ Christmas themed artworks that have been entered into our Oomph! Create competition. Inspired by the new workshops that we’re running in partnership with The Lightbox, Cedars, a brighterkind home in Salisbury, won the competiton with their fantastic sock snowmen. You can check out some of the other masterpieces below…
Oomph! have partnered with The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking to design a brand new workshop for care home staff.
Staff have been sculpting out new skills that focus on painting, sketching and modelling with clay, ready to take their newfound talents back to their respective homes for the benefit of residents.
Held across various regions in the UK, the workshops bring together staff from local care homes, teaching them the fundamentals of the three different skills and how they can practically apply and adapt these for residents.
The workshop is one of four that are run throughout the year, as part of a wider wellbeing training and support programme run by Oomph!. Previous workshops include sport, relaxation and music. The aim is to upskill staff so that they can reignite residents’ past passions and encourage development of new hobbies.
Steve Gardner, Head of Training & Support at Oomph!, said; “We are always looking to create new partnerships that will drive innovation in our training, so that we can continually inspire and engage staff to take new skills back to their care settings. This is why we’re delighted to be working with The Lightbox to provide staff with fresh, new content for them to try out with residents, so that older adults can reap the mental, physical and social rewards of getting creative.”
Heather Thomas, Learning and Engagement Manager at The Lightbox added “We are incredibly proud that we have been able to share the amazing Health and Wellbeing work we are doing with older people at The Lightbox to those in care homes across the country. Being able to inspire and encourage residents to be creative in whichever way they want is vital to their health and enjoyment of everyday life.
About The Lightbox Gallery
The Lightbox gallery and museum in Woking is home to three stunning galleries hosting a huge range of regularly changing exhibitions featuring world-renowned artists.
Alongside the exhibition programme they also run a number of stimulating community projects for a range of participants including the local homeless, those with mental health conditions and individuals living with the early stages of dementia. The Lightbox believes that art is a powerful therapeutic tool which can help promote happiness and provide relief from the difficulties of the everyday world. The varied range of stimulating community projects, including Art in Mind and Art Without Walls, enables participants to feel positive and creative without any expectation or pressure.
Art in Mind is a programme of monthly workshops for people in the early stages of dementia and their carers or supporters, supporting research that artistic stimulation prolongs the ability of people with dementia to play an active part in society. New to the programme is Art Without Walls, an arts-based outreach programme where The Lightbox delivers an art workshop in local care homes for people who would otherwise not have access to arts and heritage services.
Walking into a care setting for older adults, you might be surprised to see children’s tricycles in the gardens and toys in the lounges. But, thanks to intergenerational care and learning programmes, it’s now a sight that is becoming much more frequent.
As the UK catches up with The Netherlands, who have long been reaping the benefits of intergenerational programmes and shared sites, interest is now growing at a remarkable rate.
What are intergenerational programmes in care?
Ongoing intergenerational programmes that are purpose built to bring different generations together are now being introduced in care homes throughout the UK at a fast pace, enabling residents to share experiences that are not only thoroughly enjoyable, but proven to be extremely beneﬁcial. These programmes, often based within care home living arrangements, are environments that can see various age groups interact through planned intergenerational activities.
For example, care homes and centres within the retirement community are inviting local children in for regular singing and music sessions, sports days and arts and crafts workshops. Taking this one step further, many are also incorporating on-site childcare, including nurseries and – in some cases – even providing housing for grandparents raising grandchildren. These shared sites provide a fun and positive environment where children and older adults can learn and interact in shared space.
Alleviating staff shortages
Some care settings focus on reducing staffing shortages by offering on-site childcare, including nurseries and pre and after school programmes. In addition to offering all the benefits of intergenerational activities and programmes, there is the added employee benefit, and many of these programmes can – and do – have reduced costs significantly through the pooling of resources.
Intergenerational shared sites and activities have proven benefits. Older adults who have access to these are less likely to feel isolated and lonely, and in contrast, feel more valued within their community, with a purpose, providing hope for the future. Those participating can see improved mental health, improved socialisation through regular contact with children, improved self-worth, increased independence and an improved sense of wellbeing. For older adults living with dementia, intergenerational programmes have shown lowered levels of agitation and delayed entrance into a nursing setting.
Known childhood benefits
But what about the children? Well, intergenerational programmes also benefit children. These benefits include enhanced social skills, lower levels of aggressive behaviour and improved academic performance.
There are some great ideas on how to introduce intergenerational activities into care homes – such as inviting local schools and playgroups to visit the care home to make friends with residents and participate in activities like baking, knitting, performing and rehearsing plays, Harvest festivals and Christmas carol singing. These activities can also span beyond the care home walls – for example, Barty House Nursing Home, in Maidstone, Kent, have developed community links with a local school, recently taking a trip to visit the students to help with their 1950s project (pictured). These links ensure that knowledge and experiences are passed down through the generations.
Looking to the future
In summary, children can be a rare sight for many older adults living within care settings, but – with the rapid growth of intergenerational programmes across the UK – this will soon change. It is inevitable that the increasing creativity and diversity of the care environment will prompt these programmes to become an integral component of care – an absolute must-have for resident wellbeing.
We have partnered with Somerset Care, a leading UK Care Group, to provide engaging trips out for their residents.
Trips are running for 26 Somerset Care homes, who will be visiting a varied range of locations, spanning everything from arts and culture, to food and dining, to nature and the outdoors. Partnerships established with organisations such as the National Trust also mean that homes will be getting out and about to beautiful houses, buildings and gardens in their local area.
Previous Oomph! trips have been to unexpected and exciting locations, such as cat cafes, gin distilleries and racing tracks, as well as more day-to-day spots in the local community. These trips out aim to connect residents to the people and places that matter most to them, so that they can reignite old passions – or discover new ones.
Somerset Care homes have already headed out to local venues such as Bristol Aquarium, Fleet Air Museum, and Haynes Motor Museum.
On a recent trip, one resident commented: “I had a lovely day and thoroughly enjoyed it. I would love to do it again!”
A member of staff at the home said: “Today’s trip was a fun and meaningful activity. Residents really loved it.”
The trips also act as an opportunity for residents to share their wealth of knowledge and experience, with Anthony, the Oomph! Conductor, commenting: “On our trip the residents planned the planting of daffodils for next year, as it’s best done in November… so I learned something today too!”
Nicola Mould, Somerset Care’s Director of Customer and Care Development, said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Oomph! Wellness to provide days out for our residents. The trips provide an amazing addition to the activities already on offer within our homes and our residents are having great fun, with many enjoying a sing song along the way.”
Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! are delighted to be partnering with Somerset Care, to provide residents with regular and meaningful trips out. It is a privilege to be an integral part of the organisation’s wellbeing provision and we are excited to help ensure that residents life a full life, for life.”
Oomph! work in partnership with Canford Healthcare, a leading UK provider of care homes, to take residents out and about on trips to local destinations. A recent trip took residents back to the 50s for a themed visit to a local school…
Pupils from Year 5 at St Johns C of E Primary School in Maidstone have dedicated a whole term to discover what life was like in the 1950s. They have immersed themselves in the era throughout the past few weeks, learning about the coronation of the Queen, popular TV shows, famous musicians and the fashion of the time.
It all came together this week for their special 1950s day, where every pupil and teacher dressed to impress in their 50s style outfits. Barty House residents were invited along, to tell the children some real-life stories of the era. Residents Barbara, Daphne and 97-year-old Eide had a wealth of different stories of the time and took joy in answering the children’s questions. Eide was asked “what did you have for dinner”, she answered “Bread and Jam, we didn’t have much, but you can’t complain!”
Once all the questions were answered the residents were invited in to the hall, to watch a special rehearsal of the pupils Jive dance. For the past few weeks the children have been practising the steps, leading up to their final performance for their parents this week.
We then headed into the classroom where all the children were busy creating invitations, bookmarks and paper flowers all inspired by the Queen’s coronation. The residents were then presented with a bunch of paper flowers to take home, a wonderful token to remember the day by.
Connecting with the community is an important part of the wellbeing programme at Barty House and having such wonderful relationships with the local schools brings many opportunities for the residents. St Johns school are already planned to join the home in the next week to get residents and staff in the festive mood with some carol singing.
Oomph! work in partnership with TLC Care Group, a provider of care homes across Herts, Surrey, London and Cambridgeshire, to train and support homes, with wishes and ambitions making up a key initiative of the programme.
Derek, a resident at Carlton Court in Barnet, desperately wanted to return to Northern Ireland to visit his mother’s grave following her recent passing. The home learned of his wishes and commenced on a plan to make them come true for him.
Steven Millar, an Activity Lead at the home, and Dee Osbourne, a Nurse at Carlton Court, put the wheels in motion to work together to make Derek’s dream a possibility. Steven booked flights from Stansted leaving at 9.40am and returning at 8.10pm. During their time in Belfast they took flowers to the grave of Derek’s parents, met with his brother and had a tipple in his local pub. Derek was able to fulfil his wishes and this meant the world to him, a truly life changing experience.
It was an emotional day for all, Steven said “It was lovely to see him reconnect with his brother, the whole day has been so fulfilling and worthwhile!”
Lorna Badrick, Chief Operating Office for TLC said “A heart-warming journey for Derek that has brought tears to my eyes”
To see a video of their journey, check out Carlton Courts Facebook page here.
This World Alzheimer’s Day on Thursday 20th October, film crews visited Sutton Court where a special Oomph! exercise session was taking place to mark the day.
“Oomph specifically helps people with Alzheimer’s with their mental wellbeing and their physical wellbeing,” says Oomph! founder Ben Allen. “Like any one of us, when we exercise we get an endorphin release and feel really positive and really well. It’s exactly the same for anyone living with Alzheimer’s.”
“She just looks happy ,” says Angela Pettit, a daughter of a Sutton Court resident. “She’s smiling; trying to have a conversation with her now is quite hard, because the dementia has made her reasoning quite difficult, but because of the activities, it’s on another level.”
Shehzad Jivraj, Head of Operations at Clearstone Care, which runs Sutton Court, said, “Oomph has transformed the way in which activities and exercises are taken at our homes. Everyday when I walk around the home, I notice new and exciting person-centred activities and exercises and I see smiles on residents’ faces; these smiles are priceless. This has all stemmed from the excellent training, props, suggestions and assistance that Oomph! provides. These activities and exercises have improved the mobility, coordination, general health and mental health of our residents. We have also seen a rise in outings and external activities which the residents really do love, and again, many of these ideas have stemmed from discussions we have had with Oomph!
However, none of this would have been possible without our staff. Our staff at Sutton Court Care Centre have been incredible at embracing Oomph! and the activities programme here and they have worked extremely hard to get the home to where we want it to be. The team morale is great as all carers and staff work together to provide the activities and exercises and the spirit around the home has never been like it is today.”
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
We’re excited to be partnering with Canford Healthcare, a successful UK Care provider, to deliver awesome exercise classes and creative activities for their residents.
Taking a whole-home approach to activities, staff in Canford Healthcare 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.
One Oomph! course attendee commented: “I loved learning to tell a story with interesting imagery and adding these to exercise routines!”
The programme also includes a series of skills workshops, including Oomph! Relax, which has been developed in collaboration with expert practitioners of Yoga, Tai Chi and Pilates. The workshop focuses on teaching staff how to deliver flowing exercises, breathing and mindfulness activities to residents. Further workshops will focus on culture, nature and sport.
Brian Cooney, Canford Healthcare CEO said, “At Canford Healthcare we understand the importance of activities to the wellbeing of our residents in order that they can lead full and engaging lives. We are working with Oomph to further develop key skills to ensure that our residents can maximise their enjoyment of life”.
Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! are delighted to be working with the Canford Healthcare 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 homes and are excited to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident activities!”
We are partnering with WCS Care, a leading UK Care Group, to deliver awesome exercise classes and creative activities for their residents, as well as engaging trips out.
Taking a whole-home approach to activities, staff in 12 WCS 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.
Staff feedback on the training has been excellent, with one member of staff commenting: “The practical elements of the course were good fun! This training got me confident and energised to lead sessions!”
Another said: “I found it great learning how important exercise is and seeing how it will make a massive difference to our residents!”
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. Additional workshops include relaxation, culture and nature.
Residents are now 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, Out & About trips are running for residents at 10 WCS Care homes, who are visiting a varied range of locations, spanning everything from arts and culture, to food and dining, to nature and the outdoors. Partnerships established with organisations such as the National Trust also mean that homes are getting out and about to beautiful houses, buildings and gardens in their local area.
Popular trip destinations have included Coventry Transport Museum, a horse sanctuary and a butterfly farm. These trips out aim to connect residents to the people and places that matter most to them, so that they can reignite old passions – or discover new ones.
One staff member said: “The residents enjoyed the trip out to the park! It was lovely weather and we saw lots of wildlife. We all chatted to people in the park and enjoyed some refreshments. The residents were very excited to be out in the warm weather’’.
Christine Asbury, WCS Care’s Chief Executive, said: “Our partnership with Oomph! enables us to support residents with a wider range of opportunities, so they can continue to enjoy what they’ve always done or try something new.
“Oomph!’s comprehensive training fits well with our approach and values, giving staff permission to have fun and be creative while focusing on our ambition to make every day well lived for people living in a WCS Care home.”
Ben Allen, Oomph’s CEO and Founder, said: “Oomph! are delighted to be working with the WCS Care 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 homes and are excited to be adding additional fun and engagement to resident activities!”
On a regular basis I visit care homes to support the delivery of their wellbeing programmes, and I often hear that it’s an uphill battle to encourage others to support with activities. So how can the Activity Lead play a key role in inspiring others through wellbeing?
There’s a reason behind referring to wellbeing, as opposed to “activity”. This is not only to acknowledge the full 360 degrees of health benefits gained from activities, but also to break down the barrier of the word “activity” itself. “Activity” has a stigma attached to it, and is often perceived as a 45 minute period, a large group event, or something that involves arts and crafts. It is often considered as something that is solely the Activity Lead’s responsibility. Essentially, this word provides a lot more barriers than the term “wellbeing”.
The World Health Organisation defines health as a “state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This provides a platform for wellbeing within a care setting, ensuring that each and every interaction can tie into these three key areas.
It’s important to develop a varied programme that focuses on different benefits. These benefits can then be celebrated to show the significance of a good wellbeing programme in the home and should support creating a whole-home approach to activities. It becomes more than just that singing and dancing activity, it becomes something that allows people to live life to their potential.
Hence, to encourage support from others, we need to highlight what we have achieved. Having the ability to promote outcomes from activities gives people the opportunity to buy into what we are working towards, showcasing the significance behind what we’re doing. Mobility, dexterity, communication, concentration, friendships, motivation and confidence are a few areas to focus on. If you can develop an understanding of why you run each activity, this will support the vital evidencing and celebratory aspect of wellbeing. So often I hear about fantastic achievements, but these are not highlighted to the rest of the care setting – or on the other hand, they are, but very infrequently. This is a huge oversight, as celebrating these achievements is a great way to change people’s perceptions of what activities truly are.
Life stories are a great way to engage the wider team in wellbeing, whilst ensuring that individuals live life to the full. The Activity Lead can therefore play a key role in creating disguised activities – life stories can provide fantastic information to support interactions between everybody in a care setting. The more people know about an individual, the more this will influence meaningful interactions and will then transfer through to a whole home approach, where everyone plays a part in activities.
It’s not necessarily an easy journey, but taking some steps to inspire others through wellbeing can make all the difference to your programme, and ultimately to the lives of the residents in your care setting.
To find out more, email Steve at email@example.com
Photo taken at Park View Care Home (First Care).