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 Gymnastics sessions improving Barnsley care home residents’ fitness and memory

Gymnastics sessions improving Barnsley care home residents’ fitness and memory

By 17th February, 2023 Press Releases No Comments

ELDERLY care home residents in Barnsley have taken up gymnastics in an effort to get fitter, stronger, better coordinated, and improve memory.

Residents living at Deangate Care Home, in Mapplewell, have started the “Love to Move” chair-based age and dementia friendly exercise programme, developed by the British Gymnastics Foundation.

So far they have been learning dance routines and taking part in coordination exercises, such as moving hands and arms alternately.

For one resident, 88-year-old Francis Smith, improvements in mobility were seen after just two sessions. She said: “My left arm has been stiff but since starting these exercises I feel it’s a lot better. I feel energised.”

Betty Wood, 88, said: “It was hard at first learning the routine, but it was fun when we I managed to get the hang of it. It makes me use my memory.”

Elaine Keeling, 69, said: “I love seeing everyone so happy. I enjoyed it. I’ll definitely sleep tonight.”

William “Bill” Guest, 95, said: “We all did a great job and should be proud of ourselves.”

Maurice Churchouse, 93, said: “It’s good to smile and have fun.”

The Love to Move programme is based on a similar scheme in Japan, which is now completely state-funded due to its success, with research concluding it improved elderly participants’ walking speed, cognitive function, and balance, as well as reduced feelings of depression.

Designed to get older people moving and functioning better, the programme also aims to improve the lives of those living with dementia through social interaction, memory stimulation and the use of foundation gymnastics skills to develop coordination, balance, core strength, and flexibility.

Hannah Newton, health and wellbeing coach from the Barnsley Primary Care Network, has been delivering the programme at Deangate Care Home.

She said: “I am so glad the residents at Deangate are enjoying Love to Move and it’s having such a positive impact on them after such a short amount of time.

“I truly believe doing exercises in care homes is so valuable and has many positives for each resident. Having previously worked in a care home for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s, I can see the true benefits of this work.

“The Love to Move programme is designed to improve cognitive function and increase physical activity levels. Building a rapport with the residents and watching them engage in each session is so rewarding and seeing the impact it has on their day is amazing.

“Hearing the residents have asked when we are coming back and speaking about Love to Move after we have left shows just how much of an impact it has on them.”

Rachael Addy, activities coordinator at Deangate Care Home, added: “When the ladies arrived for our last session, it was brilliant to see some of the residents remember who they are and what they were here for.

“It became very evident that the residents had retained some of the dance moves from the previous week and they were able to do some without any prompting.

“The sessions are incredible. The interaction and enjoyment were brilliant for the residents. I would highly recommend it to anyone living with or without dementia. It’s enjoyable for everyone.”

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