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The Benefits of Dance For People Living With Dementia

By Care Home No Comments

Dance is seen as a viable therapy for those living with dementia because it combines physical and cognitive stimulation, which could maximize impact on neuropathy and cognition.

Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, talks us through the benefits and a quick activity for people living with dementia to try…

Did you know?

In a study conducted by researchers from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine , 76% of those who danced frequently exhibited lesser signs of dementia compared to those who answered puzzles and read.

Mind, body & soul benefits

Mind: Taking part and learning new, unique dance routines – for example the Jive and the Cha Cha – will support the ability to learn something new, speed up brain processing and improve concentration.

Body: Dancing is an accessible and adaptable activity. You don’t have to be standing up to get your groove on! The benefits dancing has on your body include; improving strength, flexibility and helping with energy levels.

Soul: Exercise is known to improve mood. This is because it affects chemicals in your brain, such as dopamine and serotonin, which can affect your mood and thinking. But what gives dancing the edge is the joy and happiness it can spread, promoting new meaningful connections and reducing depression and anxiety.

Try this…

Why not play a game of musical statues with a meaningful twist? Source everyone’s favourite songs ready for the game. Ask people to partner up, and as the music plays, get them to dance together. When the music stops, everyone will have to freeze – the last pair to stop moving are out of the game!

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.

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Top Tips For Developing A Painting – Part 3: Adding Detail

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In this three part special, we give top tips for beginners to pick up their paintbrushes – no matter what their ability.

Now we’ve covered the foundations of sketching here, and starting to paint here, it’s time to add the final detail! Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, guides us through it…

Precise Detail

The fun now begins as you can start to add more detail to your paintings. Now that the previous layers have dried, you can start to add in more detail, such as trees or boats. When adding more precise detail, it works best to use a smaller brush.

Tones & Shades

You can also add darker tones or shades to give the painting a more three dimensional feel. You could use pencil or pen when the painting is dry to add finer detail if you find this easier.

Finishing Touches

Once you have finished adding details, you may find that you have finished the painting. Alternatively, you may want to add more colour to the painting with further washes.

When you have gained more confidence, you can look at adding more effects with different techniques, for example, adding salt to the paint or paper.

The Art Gallery

This series has aimed to provide you with the necessary knowledge and skills to develop your own artwork.

Why not encourage participants to get involved and develop your own art gallery? It’s very meaningful and a great way to evidence & celebrate what you’re doing.

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.

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Top Tips For Developing A Painting – Part 2: Starting To Paint

By Care Home No Comments

In this three part special, we give top tips for beginners to pick up their paintbrushes – no matter what their ability.

Now we’ve covered the foundations of sketching here, it’s time to get our brushes out to start painting! Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, guides us through it…

Washing it out

A lot of landscape paintings have the sky in a large block of one colour. This effect is created by adding a simple wash of colour to the background. You can achieve this by mixing a lot of paint with water so that it is watery and pale in colour. Use a big brush and paint this generously onto the paper to cover the area where the sky is.

Wet on wet

Use wet paint on your wet wash (called the “wet on wet technique”) to add additional colour to the sky. This will help you achieve a more natural look. Touches of yellow can help suggest sunshine or grey will give a gloomy landscape. To suggest clouds, you can leave parts of the paper white.

Using colour

It is important to avoid using dark colours straight away! These colours can bleed into lighter colours and can’t be reversed. Instead, start with pale colours and then introduce slightly darker colours, aiming to avoid using dark paints such as black until the end. If you use too much paint, or you’re not happy with the colour, you can remove it when the paint is wet with a paper towel.

Mix it up

A colour wheel allows you to mix colours to create new colours. A great ways to do this is by using primary and secondary colours. For example, you can use blue and red to make purple, if you don’t have it!

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.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Top Tips For Developing A Painting – Part 1: Sketching

By Care Home No Comments

In this three part special, we give top tips for beginners to pick up their paintbrushes – no matter what their ability.

We start the series with our top tips for sketching. Just like many other art forms, sketching benefits many different areas of our wellbeing. Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, guides us through it…

Sketching as meditation

Sketching can help us relax, reducing stress, agitation and anxiety, and improving our focus. Sketching forces us to pay attention to details in the environment, relieving our brains from the strain of continuous concentration.

This experience is just like meditation and will bring you a sense of calm, balance and peace, which will improve your overall emotional wellbeing!

Mapping out your image

When beginning your sketch, remember there is no right or wrong place to start. Use your pencil to map out your image. For example, you could draw what’s in the background then focus on what is in the middle and foreground. It is up to you how much detail you include but remember that you will eventually paint over this later on in the process!

Under pressure

The harder you press your pencil on to the paper, the harder it will be to rub out. This will mean it will be more likely to show through the paint in the later stages. It is best to be gentle when drawing with a pencil, so that it doesn’t show through the paint.

Scale and proportions

If the participant intends on copying an image, encourage them to look carefully at what is there, keeping in mind scale and proportions. Keep checking back at the original image!

A few pointers for beginners

Know your tools – ensure you are completely comfortable with your grade of pencils, sharpener, eraser and sketch books. It also helps to start with simplified large shapes and save the details until later.

Make sketching a habit and you’ll soon become a pro!

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.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Oomph! Create Series: Scrapbooking How-To

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The third topic in our Create mini-series is: Scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking is a great activity for expressing your creativity, and a fantastic way to showcase the exciting things you’ve been up to. Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, talks us through the process…

Step one… Choose your topic

Scrapbooking is all about telling a story, so have a think about the story you want to tell! For example, if you are tending to the outdoor garden and preparing it for the summer, could you evidence this journey?

Step two… Sort your photos

When developing pages that are full of photos, it is important to remember that often less is more! It helps to choose a focal point – be aware of where you want your viewer’s eyes to be drawn. This will support with creating bigger impact when people are observing your finished piece. Use photos with the best lighting and avoid dark or blurry images.

Step three… Create a background

Find different materials to work on to make your backgrounds super interesting! You could use paper, but look at different kinds with different consistencies, for example by using vellum or lace paper to give your work transparency.

Finding the perfect paper-crafts supplies is part of the fun! For most pages, you’ll need: Patterned paper and/or card stock, adhesive, embellishments , like ribbon, buttons and stickers, paper trimmer, scissors and page protectors/album.

Step four… The finishing touches

Once your photos are in position (look online for layout inspiration if needed), add text/ journaling to tell a story within your piece. Also, stick on simple embellishments to bring your work to life. For example, try out beads, buttons, confetti, glitter, foam shapes, eyelets, die-cuts, pressed flowers, charms, sequins and stickers.

Double mount your focal point photo & group mount the supporting photos. Then stick your photos to the desired area of the page! Voila – you’re a scrapbooking pro…

If you’d like more scrapbooking inspiration, have a look at these 20 scrapbooking ideas from Country Living, and 35 more ideas here.

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.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Oomph! Create Series: Creating Collages

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The second topic in our Create mini-series is: Creating Collages.

Edgar Degas said “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see”. A “collage” describes both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other objects are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface.

Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, talks us through the process…

Resources and Narrative

Start by sourcing a variety of magazines, newspapers and other materials (see the list below for inspiration.) Ensure that you have a good mix of magazines to cater for everyone’s interests – for example, gardening, nature, cars and sport.

When looking through materials, begin to consider a narrative that your artwork will follow. For example, it could be a domestic piece, a natural landscape or a sports match.

Arranging the composition

Cut out any interesting shapes, colours and objects that fit within your piece. Before gluing the cut out images and shapes in place, it is a good idea to arrange them into a composition on a nice piece of paper. Once your piece is arranged in a desired way, glue and stick them onto the permanent surface. Then display your finished piece for everyone to enjoy!

Other creative materials…

Buttons, coloured cellophane, colouring book pages, confetti, craft foam, crayon shavings, fabric, fancy napkins, feathers, flower petals, birthday cards, leaves, magazine pages, newspaper clipping, photographs, playing cards, postcards, puzzle pieces, rice, rubber bands, sandpaper, seeds, sequins, spices, stickers, string, tinsel, tissue paper, wire, wrapping paper.

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.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Oomph! Create Series: See What You Say

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The first topic in our Create mini-series is: See What You Say.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Every artist was first an amateur”.

Creative activities provide opportunities for everyone, regardless of their ability. They enable people to engage with each other and their own creativity, directly improving their sense of wellbeing. Taking part in creative activities can reduce stress and increase social engagement, providing a fantastic opportunity for self-expression.

These activities don’t need to be complex or require lots of materials! Jack McKechnie, our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, has a simple creative activity to stimulate the mind, that only requires pencils, paper and an object…

The benefits of the activity

It’s always important to know why we are doing an activity and what the benefits of an activity are. This activity will support thought process, reduce anxiety, promote calm and relaxation, improve dexterity and support control of movement. This activity, and creative activities in general, are great for promoting individuality, promoting  happiness and creating meaningful connections.

Let’s be creative

You will need an object, pencils and paper for this activity. During the activity you will draw what you hear.

The speaker will pick an object and sit out of view from the rest of the group. They must describe the object in as much detail as possible without saying what it is.

For example, if you were describing a jug, you may say: “This object is made from clay and is about 20cm tall. It has a larger bottom to it & becomes narrower about two thirds of the way up.”

The other members of the group draw their interpretation of what they are hearing. Afterwards, get the group to share what they have drawn and compare their creative pieces!

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.

 

You can download the PDF of this resource here.

 

To find out more about our new virtual resources and support programme, email us here.

Top Tips For Older Adults Starting To Exercise

By Care Home No Comments

The popularity of home workouts has increased exponentially with the Covid-19 pandemic – keeping fit and healthy is vital for mental and physical wellbeing, especially at a time when we’re still facing restrictions. But, if you’ve never tried exercising before, or its been a while since you last did physical activity, it can be a daunting prospect.

Our exercise expert, Steve Gardner, shares his top tips for anyone starting to exercise, either for the first time or after a period of inactivity…

Purpose

Is this something that you want to commit to, and not just a one-off? If your answer is yes, then it’s important to understand WHY you want to start exercising. Without understanding what you can achieve and how it will benefit you, inevitably your commitment could wane pretty quickly.

Start by taking a look at how exercise can support and benefit you specifically. This will be different for every person, so what would be most impactful for you? Perhaps increased mobility levels, increased range of movement, pain relief or easier breathing? Or how about reduced isolation, increased independence or a sense of achievement and structure?

People often focus on the physical benefits of getting moving, where in fact there are intellectual, emotional and social benefits that will have a tremendous impact on your life. Think of exercise as a holistic approach to your all-round wellbeing – understanding why YOU are doing it will support the ability to influence continuity months down the line.

Exciting Exercise

When embarking on your journey of exercise, it’s worth thinking of your options. The best results come primarily from doing things you enjoy – if you’re having fun, it won’t feel as much like hard work and you’ll want to keep doing it! After all, doing something that’s physically active provides benefits mentally, physically and emotionally, but is completely underpinned by enjoyment! This dramatically increases the chances of success and achievement.

Slow and steady wins the race

Once you have decided what you are doing and understand why you are doing it, you need to consider what level of intensity will work best for you. Exercise intensity refers to how hard your body is working during physical activity. Your health and fitness goals, as well as your current level of fitness, will determine your ideal exercise intensity. Typically, exercise intensity is described as low, moderate or vigorous.

If you have had a period of inactivity, then it is advised to start off with low intensity for a short period of time, and then build this up over the months. During this time, you will need to balance intensity and length of session. Set yourself some achievable targets that do not cause pain or discomfort, and aim for slow and steady increases in intensity over a period of months.

Compound movements

Compound exercises are exercises that work multiple muscle groups at the same time. For example, a chest press (this is where you have both arms by your chest and push forward) is a compound exercise that works both the chest and arms. Using multiple muscles and joints will not isolate specific parts of the body, which could then cause injury. The amount of times you then complete each movement, combined with the speed of the action, starts to build a structure to your exercise session. But note – going more quickly does not always make it harder! Slowing the movement down to a very controlled pace can intensify the movement and mean that you work harder.

Session Structure

No matter what the physical activity may be, from an exercise session to gardening, if you are starting to become physically active after a period of being sedentary, include a warm up and a cool down! The thought process of “I could do this before and I will be fine now” could lead to injury and put you off continuing with the task at hand.

The reason behind a warm up is to prepare the body and mind for physical activity. A really good way to do this is to think through the movements needed to the activity. Let’s take gardening as an example – a digging motion may be needed, so you can simply start to replicate the same movements and slowly build up the intensity. You are now actively engaging the muscle groups needed for the task at hand – you have started a functional warm up!

Towards the end of your physical activity session, it’s a really good idea to gently reduce the intensity. Think about the muscles and joints you have been using and mobilise these areas to their full range of movement. For example, if you have been using your upper body, reach in front as far as you can, reach to the sky and then give yourself a cuddle. All these movements should be controlled. This is to try and prevent muscular soreness and stiffness the day after; this can restrict movements.

And remember, only do what you are comfortable with!

 

For more information about what we do, please email us here.

Care home residents focusing on the positives with new way to stay connected with loved ones…

By Care Home No Comments

Residents of care homes across the UK have been using a template that aims to connect them with their loved ones. As visitors are currently unable to go into care homes, the template means they can catch up without the need for physical contact.

“Missing you lots! Can’t wait until the virus lockdown is over and I can take you out”

Focusing on the positives, the template has space for drawing pictures, sticking photos and writing messages, as well as noting down the things that have made them smile that week. The document is then sent to friends and relatives, who fill in the other side with their own drawings and messages. These are returned to the home for the residents to enjoy.

Encouraging regular communication

One home, Brookvale House in Southampton, part of Brookvale Healthcare, has found the template to be hugely successful at connecting residents with loved ones in a meaningful way, receiving plenty of replies.

A resident at the home and her daughter have been using the templates regularly to exchange messages and clippings as a form of reminiscence. One of the communications included a photo of blue flowers, with the message “A lovely picture for you – blue forget me nots. Remember your song, Two Little Girls in Blue, when your father used to sing it to you. It was a famous song in 1921!”

The resident replied, “I remember the song Two Little Girls in Blue – I remember my dad singing this song together!”

Tunbridge Wells Care Centre, part of Canford Healthcare, have also had replies from loved ones. One child replied to a resident, “Thank you for the letter, I really enjoyed reading it. My positives include splashing in the paddling pool, writing poems and writing this!”

Keeping up spirits

The template has also proven that it’s the simple things bringing us joy during lockdown – some of the positives noted by residents of Brookvale Care Home and their loved ones include “cups of tea”, “seeing my son”,  “singing” and “sunshine”. One resident said her positives were “When my daughter sends me flowers and when my daughter calls me on the phone – it makes me smile!”

For information on how we can help to keep residents engaged during the Covid-19 pandemic, please contact us at hello@oomph-wellness.org

 

Photo taken at Karuna Manor

Kicking off the Care Home Oomph-lympics

By Care Home

Would you expect to see synchronised swimming in a care home? How about golf? The Olympic Games might be postponed until 2021, but that won’t stop residents across the UK from limbering up to compete in Olympics and Paralympics inspired events this summer…

Bringing something different and exciting to residents is particularly important for care homes right now. That’s why a brand new – and entirely virtual – skills workshop has been created to teach care home staff how to engage older adults in popular sports through exercise moves, themed activities and gameplay. The workshop has been created with help from expert partners – such as the School of Sport and Health Sciences at the University of Exeter, as well as Boccia England – and covers a range of Olympic and Paralympic sports and how these can be adapted for any ability.

This first of its kind, the workshop has been kicked off with TLC Care, with 8 care homes coming together via video call to learn all about the sports and how they can use and adapt them to engage residents.

“This was exactly what our team needed. The theme is great, the content is so refreshing for me, the facilitator is amazing and the tools were the best in this pandemic time!” commented a Team Member at Carlton Court, TLC.

Following the workshop, the homes were tasked with running their very own Oomph-lympics with their residents. The homes are now busy hosting opening ceremonies to kick everything off, and are planning special events for the different sports, including Boccia themed weeks and beach parties for their synchronised swimming events.

One attendee from Cooperscroft Care Home said, “The practical side of the training was excellent for me as I am a physical learner. It was fun and it was great to see others joining in and sharing their ideas!”

Vicky Bahmed, Wellbeing Support Manager for TLC Care said, “The workshops are always fun, inclusive and allow us to share ideas and give support”.

Ben Allen, CEO at Oomph!, commented, “We are delighted that we have been able to adapt our training to deliver new, exciting content virtually – especially when care home teams need it most. It is a pleasure to be kicking off the Oomph-lympics with TLC, and we can’t wait to see what the homes have in store for residents… Let the games begin!”

 

For information on how we can help to keep residents engaged during the Covid-19 pandemic, please contact us here.