Older residents at Orbit’s Queensway Court independent living scheme in Leamington Spa have been improving their mobility as part of a British Gymnastics Foundation programme.
The Love to Move programme uses age and dementia friendly seated exercises to help develop coordination, balance, core strength and flexibility. The exercises are performed in time to music which has also been shown to help stimulate memory and recall in people living with dementia.
Orbit funded the training for Activities Coordinator, Deborah Harris to safely deliver the programme for residents, with sessions running at the scheme three times per week.
Deborah Harris Activities Coordinator for Orbit who is based at the scheme said: “This is a really enjoyable and accessible exercise programme aimed perfectly at our residents. Not only do the sessions give residents the chance to get together and socialise, but we’ve seen some real benefits in terms of mobility, coordination and dexterity too – all skills which are really important in maintaining the independent lives that our residents want to lead.”
Resident Paul (pictured left) commented: “Before joining the programme I couldn’t lift my arms. The difference after 8 months is incredible – my mobility has really improved and I’m finding it much easier to look after myself and do day to day activities.”
Queensway Court is an extra care housing scheme specially designed for people aged over 55. Residents have the independence of their own apartments, with the opportunity to socialise and get involved with the community if they wish. Extra care and support are available to them should their needs and requirements change over time.
Louise Roberts from the British Gymnastics Foundation added: “It’s fantastic to see how Deborah has embraced the Love to Move programme enabling residents at Queensway Court to benefit from the sessions. As well as the strength, flexibility and co-ordination exercises, the programme includes social and cognitive elements designed to support memory, engagement and socialisation as people grow older. Most of all, you can see the participants at Queensway just have fun!”
A survey of Orbit’s independent living customers in 2019 identified that declining health and mobility were huge barriers to people being able to remain in Orbit accommodation, as they may need to move into care homes to get the support they need.
As part of a new Health and Wellbeing Strategy launched in April, Orbit will offer a greater range of preventative health services to independent living residents to address that barrier and improve the wellbeing of customers so that they can continue to live independent lives for as long as possible.
As well as more services such as Love to Move which are delivered in partnership with other organisations, Orbit will be piloting the provision of new ‘in-house’ Health and Wellbeing Coaches who will directly deliver sessions including nutrition, falls prevention and mindfulness in half of Orbit’s independent schemes in the Midlands. If the pilot is successful then Orbit will increase resource to cover all schemes in the Midlands, East and South regions too.