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Oomph! Relax Series: Mindfulness

By Care Home

The third topic in our Relax mini-series is: Mindfulness.

In Eastern Philosophy a strong ‘chi’ makes you alive, alert, and present in your mind, body and soul. A weak chi results in sluggishness and fatigue, therefore preventing you from reaching full wellbeing. ‘Chi’ (pronounced ‘chee’) means energy or life force. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinators, tells us more about how to practice mindfulness…

Developing your chi

The practice of mindfulness is about harnessing and developing the energy and life force inside us. Developing your chi is thought to overcome illness, help you become more vibrant and enhance your mental capacity.

This principle requires you to block out all the background noise and encourages you to have clarity of thought and focus. Mindfulness is a state of being aware of the present moment, being conscious and paying attention.

The Philosophy

The philosophy of mindfulness is not just awareness, but being consciously aware. You must focus all your senses on one thing and notice it.

For example, have you ever been aware of your window? Have you noticed all the lines in the wood; have you noticed the shimmer in the glass from the sunlight? Have you been aware of how your feet feel against your shoe or your sock, or how the back of your thighs feel against the chair?

You have now because you have moved your attention and focus.

Have a go! Body scanning…

This activity requires mental and physical focus. Why not play some gentle, soothing music to aid the session?

You will begin your body scan at your toes and move all the way up to your head. The activity requires a combination of breathing and focused ‘sensing’, ‘tensing’ and ‘relaxing.’ This will be implemented over a four count inhale and four count exhale.

You will begin by sensing your toes for two breaths. How do they feel? Next, on the third breath squeeze and tense your toes. On the fourth and final breath relax the toes.

Continue this exercise all the way up the body.

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! Relax Series: Breathing

By Care Home

The second topic in our Relax mini-series is: Breathing.

Within Eastern Philosophy and practice, the breath is viewed as our life force – if we didn’t breathe, we wouldn’t be here. So, if we learn to breathe with more control and efficiency, we will function better! Using a variety of breathing activities offers flexibility and variety to practice, and can improve your breathing. Jack McKechnie, one of our Lead Wellbeing Coordinators, walks us through it…

 

The Foundation of Everything

There are plenty of benefits from learning and practicing breathing exercises. These exercises train the muscles and organs involved, giving more control and better equipping them to support everyday activity. Of course, everyone breathes, but not everyone thinks about their breathing… The purpose of breathing activities is to provide a structure to breathing so that you can tap into the benefits!

The Benefits

Breathing exercises support daily living by reducing anxiety and stress, which can really elevate your mood. If exercises are performed regularly, you can strengthen the lungs, reduce blood pressure and release muscle tension, relieving pain and improving posture. Breathing exercises can also support COPD. Overall, this will help improve energy levels, whilst supporting shared activities.

Have a go! Balance breathing…

If participants can, it is beneficial to ask them to move to the front third of their chair and sit in an upright position. Ensure as much as possible that their back is away from the back of their chair to prevent the diaphragm from being compressed.

This breathing activity is done all through the nose. Ask participants to inhale for a count to 2. Then ask them to exhale to a count to 2. When you have got the basics and participants are comfortable, extend the counts to 3, 4 & 5. Always keep the count equal for the in and out breath.

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! Relax Series: Morning Pages

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 first topic in our Relax mini-series is: Morning Pages.

In the book, The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, it is stated that a tool called ‘Morning Pages’ is practised by many people. The activity uses writing as a medium to release inner chatter and to obtain more consciousness throughout the day. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinators, tells us more about how to use morning pages…

 

Release your inner chatter

It is important that, before we embark on any relaxation activity, we release our “inner chatter”. Writing is a fantastic way to get things down on paper and to collate your thoughts. The activity of creating ”morning pages” is consciousness writing, and can be done in the morning, or before any relaxation exercise.

Morning pages helps us to clarify our thoughts, brings us comfort and helps us to prioritise the day at hand. Don’t over-think morning pages, it’s a process to clear your mind!

Now have a go!

Take a pen and some paper, and then begin jotting down anything that comes into your mind. There is no wrong way to do morning pages, just write down anything and everything that pops into your mind!

“I’ve got to make dinner later, what do I need from the shops?” This could be an example of a thought that you write down. No one else will see what you’re writing – it’s for your eyes only!

Park your thoughts

Once you have all your thoughts down on paper, your mind should be chatter free! Make sure you “park your thoughts” – for example, place them away from you or pop them in your pocket.

After you have finished your relaxation activity, you can go back to your thoughts.

Oomph! Culture Series: Bring Exhibitions to Life

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 Culture mini-series is: Bringing Exhibitions To Life

Nannette l. Avery said, “A museum was a place where nothing was lost, just rediscovered”. At the moment, visiting museums, galleries and places of culture isn’t an option, so Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Lead Wellbeing Coordinators, tells us more about how we can bring the exhibitions to us…

“When different people find common interest and are curious about an object or place, even when they do not have prior memories of it, this can become a catalyst for connection between them. Shared curiosity can spark free-flowing conversation, which can reassure a person with dementia that someone is interested in their lives.”

Quote taken from – Curiosity, place and wellbeing: encouraging place-specific curiosity as a “way to wellbeing’

Spark Curiosity

Why not create exhibitions in your home which celebrate residents’ lives? These can be stationary (for example, in rooms, on boards or displayed in reception), or can be mobile if you use a trolley. Using objects from their lives can celebrate resident achievements or interests. By designing exhibits for individuals, you will spark curiosity, bring people together and discover shared interests.

Experiment

You don’t need to just stick to objects from history or art galleries! Why not experiment in your home with these exhibit ideas?

Multi-sensory demonstrations or displays – allow the exhibition goers to experience the objects on display. For example, this could be an audio visual experience with video clips.

Exhibits from another time – discover the past, present and possibly the future! For example, what exciting technological developments are happening and how could you explore these?

Experimental exhibits – opportunities for museum goers to learn through interacting with and using the objects on show. Are there any unusual items that could be used?

Get Crafty

Turn the exhibition into an experience from beginning to end! Why not get creative and crafty in your home with these ideas…

Scale Models – play with sizes. Can you change the scale of something to give you a new perspective (microscopes or enlarged photocopies). How about creating model replicas together?

DIY Exhibition – opportunities for museum goers to add to existing exhibits and create new exhibits themselves. You could even consider asking the local community to send in their exhibits, in the form of drawings, photos and stories.

Mystery Items – that encourage people to explore the item and ask questions about what something is.

Oomph! Culture Series: One Word Stories

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 Culture mini-series is: One Word Storytelling

Rudyard Kipling said, “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten”. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators, suggests a fun and simple activity…

 

Creative flow

Get the creative juices flowing with a one-word storytelling game. In a 1:1 or as a group, you will tell a story together, taking it in turns to add one word at a time. This fun game will require you to work together and help with developing communication – plus you’re guaranteed to have a giggle!

Set the scene

Set the scene by leading with a full sentence, for example…

“Once upon a time there was a young man who wanted to change his luck…” or

“Once upon a time, there lived a woman with extraordinary powers…”

Then allow the next person to continue the story, one word at a time. If you are in a group, ensure everyone contributes. Keep telling the story until it has reached a conclusion. Make sure you jot down each word as the story unfolds so that you can read it back!

For a more independent version of this activity, how about using our storytelling prompt template here, or search online for some short story prompts to provide inspiration.

 

Showcase

Why not build a story book together and include all of the stories created? This will allow you to share the stories built over a period of time with friends and family.

Oomph! Culture Series: How To Write Your Own Limericks

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 second topic in our Culture mini-series is: How To Write Your Own Limericks. 

Robert Frost said, “Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought, and the thought has found words”. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators,  tells us how we can write our own limericks…

What is a limerick?

Limericks are funny or unusual poems which consist of 5 lines – they are short, rhyme, and have a bouncy rhythm. They stimulate the soul by encouraging laughter and providing a creative outlet. There is even a National Limerick Day, held every year on May 12th, which celebrates Edward Lear, the man who made the short poems popular.

Follow the next steps to practice and create your own.

Have a go!

To create a limerick, you need to follow an “AABBA” rhyme scheme. This means that lines 1, 2 and 5 rhyme. Lines 3 and 4 also rhyme.

You can also keep each line to a certain number of syllables to create a nice poetic flow. Lines 1, 2 & 5 would have between 8 and 9 syllables, whilst lines 3 & 4 would have between 5 and 6 syllables.

Have a look at the example below:

A – There once was a man from Peru,
A – Who dreamt that he swallowed a shoe,
B – He woke up in a fright,
B – In the mid of the night,
A – To learn that his dream had come true!

  1. Start by choosing your subject, this can be anything you want!
  2. Then, write down some ideas for your first line.
  3. Make a list of words that rhyme with your first line to inspire your second and fifth lines.
  4. Write your second line.
  5. Write down your third and fourth lines. These need to rhyme with each other!
  6. Finish off the limerick with your fifth line (remember this should rhyme with your first and second lines!).
  7. Test it out loud and see how it sounds… Then share!

Make It Meaningful

Why not create limericks based on your interests or your own funny experiences? Have a think about some lighthearted and humorous moments in your life which could be a great starting point!

Care home brings community together with street exercise session!

By Care Home

At Ruddington Manor in Nottingham, part of the New Care Group, the care home’s residents have been smiling and waving to local people during the weekly clap for key workers. Relationships have been building between them during this time.

To create a sense of togetherness at a time when residents are unable to go on trips or have external visitors due to the Covid-19 lockdown, the Wellbeing Team at the home organised a communal street exercise session, with the residents of Ruddington Manor and the local people of the Wilford community.

Invitations were sent to neighbours and the home was buzzing with anticipation for the day. On the day, the home’s residents and the local neighbours came together to shake their pom poms for a fun-filled Oomph! exercise session.

 

Exercising With The Community

Amy Simpson, Lead Wellbeing Coordinator at the home, commented: “It went really well and everyone laughed throughout! Residents said it was great to meet their neighbours, and they hope to do more things together.

The local people were good sports, really enjoyed the session and would love to do it again… One neighbour said that she had never exercised as a family before, but that she found the session was really fun. Another resident said she was using the session this morning as a warm up before her jog. The children that got involved said it was great fun too.”

 

You can’t beat fresh air and Oomph! exercise – Oomph! is bringing a community together!

Amy Simpson, Lead Wellbeing Coordinator, Ruddington Manor

Lifting Spirits During Lockdown

Alongside this community session, exercise has played a huge part in getting spirits up within the home – to date, the home have held over 23 Oomph! exercise sessions since the start of lockdown, and have plenty more planned in. Another New Care home, Grosvenor Manor, held an impressive 181 Oomph! exercise sessions in February and March.

Amy, Lead Wellbeing Coordinator at Ruddington Manor, told us, “Over the past month, the support has been amazing from Oomph! – not only do we use the fantastic resources sent to us, we continue to use the other Oomph! exercise sessions that we have been trained to deliver.

We have noticed that by increasing Oomph! sessions, residents that would not normally attend are now attending. Over the past month we have used Oomph! once a day – or even twice a day – to keep the residents stimulated emotionally, physically and mentally.

I would like to thank Oomph! for the constant support and really find the monthly reviews helpful with Lisa. Coming up with new ideas at this time was daunting at first but having Lisa support and encourage new ideas has been great!”

New Care have partnered with Oomph! for 3 years, providing wellbeing training and ongoing support for the teams at the care provider’s homes. This enables staff to deliver a wide range of activities and exercise sessions to engage residents mentally, physially and emotionally.

For more information, or to find out more about our virtual training and resources, please email hello@oomph-wellness.org

Oomph! Culture Series: Mind, Body & Soul

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 first topic in our Culture mini-series is: Mind, Body & Soul. 

Maya Angelou said, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you”. There are plenty of online cultural resources that we can use to help stimulate the mind, body and soul. Jack McKechnie, one of our expert Regional Wellbeing Coordinators,  tells us how we can use culture for wellbeing…

Mind

For any thespians, how about using the Royal Shakespeare Companies online resources.

Tres bien! Learning new skills is a great way to feel a sense of achievement – try using the Duo Lingo website here

For budding authors, try creating your own short stories, follow the simple how to here. Consider showcasing the stories and sharing them. Could you put the stories on a board or in a book, or online?

Body

Laughter is a great stress relief, and works muscles. Try laughter yoga with the example video here. For even more laughter, how about reading funny limericks, like the ones here.

Or, how about trying some Tongue Twisters, like the ones here.

Soul

Try listening to audio poems on the Poetry Foundations website, or perhaps explore online galleries & exhibitions like the V&A here.

For a virtual twist on your local area, use Google Earth here to look at the areas where you grew up & see how these places have changed. See what stories there are to be told!

 

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.