Care homes get walking with Go4Gold

Go4Gold is a Perth and Kinross care home challenge to increase physical activity levels for all care home residents in a fun and meaningful way.

Ancaster House care home won the Go4Gold Walking with Nature poster competition

Now in its ninth year, 313 residents from 24 care settings in Perth and Kinross competed in various games and challenges throughout August.

The event has previously taken place at Bells Sports Centre in Perth but this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, each care setting has run their own in-house Go4Gold event. 
The participants took part in various physical challenges including golf putting, skittles, picking up nature objects and a goal scoring target. Watch some of the activities in the film here.

An award ceremony was held virtually on Tuesday, 31 August where all the participants were presented with certificates and medals for their teams. Winning teams also received a trophy. The virtual ceremony also included filmed messages from actor Brian Cox and Deputy First Minister John Swinney. 

Walking with Nature

In the weeks before the event, staff and residents from each care home put forward a team name and logo. They also created posters reflecting this year’s Go4Gold theme of “Walking with Nature”.

The winning poster, judged by a Paths for All staff, was from Ancaster House care home for using natural materials and including quotes on what nature means to the residents. For example, Jean said:

The tree is inspirational with its new life every year.

The winning poster is pictured above. View all the creative posters in the slideshow below.

Spending time connecting with nature can help residents to feel more relaxed, and help them to feel emotional affinity, meaning they want to care for their garden and its’ wildlife. This can lead to a greater sense of belonging helping their overall health and wellbeing. 

10 care homes have been working with Paths for All to develop their Walking with Nature activities. Resource packs, contained in a waterproof bag, have been given to staff to use with residents and include a pair of binoculars, a magnifying glass and set, sweep net to catch insects and a selection of bird, butterfly, insect, flower, and hedgerow identification sheets.

Feedback is unanimous that the pack gave staff lots of ideas to support residents to spend more time outdoors in their garden grounds and create walking routes.  A member of staff from Muirton House Nursing Home in Blairgowrie said:

It was really great to get out into the garden with a purpose. 

Suzie Kelly, Activities Coordinator with Richmond House care home in Crieff has found exploring insects in the garden with residents to be a mesmerizing activity. She enthuses:

Residents were surprised at just how many bees and different kinds of insects were in the garden. One resident said: “It’s something you never think of all these things hiding under rocks”.

I found the residents really enthusiastic, we sat for over an hour looking and hunting and they were all engaged throughout (that’s a long time for an activity!).

Changes to the pack from the pilot highlight the need for a wider range of equipment suited to the different sensory needs of residents, for example, larger binoculars, smaller nets and more identification guides.

Further developments include support on growing food, creating a nature table to bring the outdoors inside, using outdoor materials for craft activities and having more indoor plants to care for. 

Go4Gold was organised by the Perth and Kinross Care Home Activity Network (CHAN), which is a partnership between Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, Scottish Care, Live Active Leisure, Paths for All, the third sector and local care homes.

Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership Falls Service Manager Carolyn Wilson said:

The past 18 months have been particularly challenging for all of our care homes. The usual annual care home games challenge Go4Gold held at Bells Sports Centre was impossible, but we wanted to still recreate Go4Gold, particularly with the 2020 Olympics running this summer.   

It’s fantastic to see so many homes participating and the residents really entering into the competitive spirit with enthusiasm and excitement. Go4Gold demonstrates that everyone can exercise in some way and offers a lasting legacy promoting physical activity. It goes to prove that even the frailest in our society can come together, participate in physical activity and above all have fun.

Find out more about Paths for All’s walking activities in care homes here

Find out more about Paths for All’s Strength and Balance activities in care settings online

Paths for All's Walking with Nature campaign has been shortlisted in the Nature of Scotland Awards - Health and Wellbeing Award category.   

Read This Next