Care home walking project nominated in UK Coaching Awards

Our Care About Walking project, to support older residents in care settings to walk more, was nominated in the UK Coaching Awards, Coaching for an Active Life category.

Beechwood Care Home residents in Blairgowrie enjoy a Big Fit Walk

The inspirational UK Coaching Awards ceremony was held on Thursday 5th December 2019 at The Tower Hotel London.

Mark Gannon, CEO of UK Coaching, said:

The standard of nominations we received this year has been phenomenal and truly demonstrates the diverse coaching talent we have in the UK.

These awards are a chance for us to celebrate the work our coaches do every day of the week, and the role they play in making people around them healthier and happier.

Gordon Paterson, Chief Officer for the Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, said:

Congratulations to the teams on their nomination for Coaching for an Active Life at the UK Coaching Awards.  This is a tremendous achievement and this recognition clearly demonstrates just how vital and important this work is in our care homes to help individuals maintain not only an independent life but also an active one.

The Care About Walking project was piloted with Parkdale Care Home in Auchterarder to integrate walking activities into the daily routine of care homes.

It has been expanded to work with five care homes in Perth and Kinross, in partnership with Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, Live Active Leisure’s Stride for Life project and the Care Inspectorate’s Care About Physical Activity (CAPA) programme.

The five care homes involved in the project are:
Stormont Lodge – Blairgowrie
Beech Manor Care Home – Blairgowrie
Dalweem Care Home – Aberfeldy
Ancaster House Care Home – Crieff
Glencairn House – Auchterarder

The aim of the Care About Walking project is to ensure physical activity is a key component of a resident’s daily routine and is central to their care plan. Keeping active in later life has many physical, mental and social health benefits for older adults including: 

  • better cognitive functioning
  • a reduced cardiovascular risk 
  • a greater ability to carry out daily living activities and maintain independence and autonomy
  • improved mood, and self-esteem
  • a reduced risk of falls due to improved strength, balance and co-ordination.

Staff have been trained on walk leading, strength and balance exercises, and evaluation techniques to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence. 

The care homes involved received a resource pack containing posters and a step count chart to log the number of steps walked. Wall stickers and outdoor panels depicting strength and balance exercises have also been installed. 

Walking activities are tailored to each residents’ need through consultation and taster sessions. Some activities are self-directed, and others are led by a member of staff or a community volunteer. Feedback from residents has been overwhelmingly positive with tangible improvements in functional fitness.

A resident from Beechwood Manor Care Home who has benefitted from more walking activities enthused:

Having the exercise posts in the garden has made me fitter and helped improve my confidence going outdoors. It’s good fun too.

Madeana Laing, Beechwood Manor Care Home Manager said:

Beech Manor were delighted to be given the opportunity to join the Care About Walking project. The residents were already enthusiastic about exercise, so being able to encourage more outdoor activities has been a great addition to our programme of activities.

We have created an exercise path in our garden which has been well used over the summer months. Visitors to the home have enjoyed taking part in this garden loop, with some great grandchildren challenging their family to complete it. This is exactly what we wanted to see happen – families engaging with residents on a short walk.

We are aware of the health benefits of both regular exercise and fresh air for our residents. This project has helped the team at Beech Manor to achieve this.”

Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership Falls Service Manager, Carolyn Wilson is delighted with the national recognition the Care About Walking project has received. She said:

I was super proud to represent Paths for All and Perth and Kinross Social Care Partnership in London at the UK Coaching Awards 2019 on behalf of the care home sector. It proves that regardless of age and ability, coaching can be effective in improving the key skills and abilities to enable walking. This helps older adults become more active and reduce their risk of falls.

The Care About Walking project won the Coaching for an Active Life category of sportscotland’s Coaches, Officials and Volunteer 2019 awards last month. Find out more here