Care Home Olympics
Ever considered Care Home Olympics? Health and fitness can be a concern at all stages of life, but it is perhaps particularly important to maintain during later life, when our lifestyle may have become more sedentary or underlying health problems may have made strenuous activity impossible. Within private care homes, there is the opportunity to participate in an activity to suit your current level of health and fitness. As a change to the routine (and to mark the improved weather), many care homes have begun holding their own ‘Olympics’, with challenges and activities to suit every ability, fun prizes and friendly competition.
Engaging in a form of exercise has been widely shown to increase confidence, maintain suppleness, improve sleep and even aid mental clarity and memory function. In later life, when our confidence can drop and social isolation can set in, it is particularly important that the families and carers in private nursing homes involve the elderly in gentle activities that will boost their mood, maintain their fitness and even improve their mobility, balance, and coordination. The value of good fun, at any age, should never be underestimated.
If the weather is pleasant, it can be a particularly nice change to hold some activities outdoors. Blankets can be readily available for any seated participants, and a chalkboard with someone keeping score is a great way to engage those who may not feel up to the activity itself but would love to be involved.
A gentle throwing game can be simple to arrange, with bean bags or a welly boot and a good tape measure. Ensure fairness in the games if any participants are in a wheelchair, then all participants should be seated, for example. Activities do not always have to be competitive, either. Group routines such as stretching or gentle walking can be very popular. Perhaps particularly high scores in games or a good effort could win something nice for the whole care home, like a special meal or outing. Everyone should feel valued, included and a part of the care home family. Why not make a day of it with healthy snacks and nibbles, and of course lots of water and tea to ensure everyone stays hydrated during the events.
Don’t forget to incorporate a gentle warm-up and cool-down stretch to encourage circulation and minimise the risk of strain and injury.
Commitment of Care Homes
Private care homes in particular, make a special effort to address the worries and concerns of residents and their families to ensure that the elderly have the attention, dignity, and quality of life that they richly deserve. A combination of both routine and added “extras” such as these create a sense of fun, confidence and social inclusion.