Engagement Officer Lucy Cribb shares a story about her recent visit to a Christchurch care home, where she teamed up with two local physiotherapists from Medella Home Physiotherapy, to help older residents enjoy an exercise session on Older People’s Day.

I recently teamed up with two local physios, Naomi and Alahna, to host an exercise, balance, and safety session for some of the residents at Queensmead Care Home.  When we arrived we were introduced to Lesley, the Activities Coordinator and shown to a living room where eight residents were sitting.  It was just after lunch when we arrived and quite a few of the group were asleep, so before we introduced ourselves we had to gently wake them.  We managed to get the full attention of six residents, who were all happy to participate in the session.  We each introduced ourselves and explained our working roles.

Residents share their stories

Alahna started the session by asking if anyone had suffered a fall in the past.  Dot’s hand went straight up and she told everyone that she had fallen last year, just before she came to the home.  She doesn’t remember falling but she remembers that she had been sawing wood in the garden all morning and suddenly felt giddy.  The next thing she remembers is being in the care of the Paramedics.  Apparently, they were marvellous!  Lesley, recounted her recent fall when she was on her way back from the pub.  Luckily an ambulance happened to be driving past as she fell down and they pulled over to check she was okay.  The Paramedics took the time to patch her up and check that she was well enough to continue her journey home.  Lesley also had a lot of praise for the ambulance service!

Playing catch

After a quick presentation, Naomi and Alahna then started the exercise session.  The residents firstly participated in playing ‘catch’ with a balloon whilst seated.  They also perfected standing calf raises, leg adductor side steps, and carried out sit to stand tests, which Joan and Dot both smashed!  They also did some quad exercises using resistance bands.  Ted was particularly good at the leg exercises, which probably comes as a result of being a semi professional footballer.  Ted told us a story about when his wife went into labour and he left her in the hospital to go off and play football.  He scored a hat trick in that match!

Everyone worked really hard and gave it their best.  I’m sure there were a few aching muscles the next morning.  It was a great session and a good opportunity to talk about Healthwatch Dorset, and hear some funny stories from some older people.

Naomi from Medella Home Physiotherapy said to me after the session: “We had a lovely time with residents at the care home, giving a talk on falls, checking walking aids and leading an exercise class.  It is always a joy to see how physical activity, especially when it’s made fun and interactive, brings happiness and vitality!”