Crosslet House Care Home in West Dunbartonshire have worked with national walking charity Paths for All, and Walking for Health project Walk in the Park to take a person-centred approach to offer a choice of exercise options for their residents and day service users. Depending upon their ability adults can choose from:
- A Vitality programme which features indoor walking and gentle movement exercises
- Indoor and outdoor walking activities using strength and balance garden panels
- Strength and balance garden panels and joining community-based Health Walks
Resident Bobby Darroch, aged 84, officially opened a series of eight strength and balance exercise panels on Wednesday 28th November. Children from Mrs Walker’s P7 class at Braehead Primary School assisted the residents with performing strength and balance exercises. The involvement of school children helped to motivate the adults and offer valuable intergenerational links with the community.
Chair of West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership, Allan Macleod, is delighted that new approaches to supporting adults in care settings, including those living with dementia, are being pioneered. Allan said:
It is inspirational that staff are putting the needs of the residents at the heart of what they do. This includes helping elderly adults to meet the national physical activity guidelines to help them manage their health conditions, mood, behaviour and overall wellbeing.
“I would like to congratulate all staff and partners involved in designing supportive approaches to fitting physical activity into resident’s daily routines.”
Councillor Marie McNair Vice Chair of West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership is also supportive of The Walking Pathway initiative.
Marie said: “It is inspiring to see how developing indoor and outdoor walking opportunities combined with strength and balance exercises has benefits for all the residents of Crosslet House. Offering a range of exercise options to meet the specific needs of each person is central to making everyone feel valued and respected.”
The UK Chief Medical Officer’s physical activity guidelines for older adults are 150 minutes (2.5 hours) of moderate intensity activity a week, such as walking, with additional strength and balance exercises at least twice a week. Extended periods of sitting should be minimised.
Ian Findlay, Chief Officer with Paths for All believes that developing walking activities such as strength and balance exercises in care settings and offering community-based Dementia Friendly Health Walks for residents to join in is important to help older adults stay active.
He said: “Older people in care homes can often experience a sedentary lifestyle, spending 80-90% of their time sitting or lying down either by choice, frailty, multiple co-morbidity or lack of opportunity.
“By thinking creatively Paths for All want to develop person-centred walking activities to change this situation. By working in partnership to create local resources and activities we can help elderly adults to develop healthy habits around physical activity.”
Walk in the Park have five Health Walk groups across the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Their Health Walks have Dementia Friendly status which means the Walk Leaders have been trained to provide a friendly and caring welcome for anyone living with dementia. Through the Walking Pathway programme residents and day service users can attend the weekly Balloch Health Walk with accompanying support from staff. Joining a community-based Health Walk group has been very beneficial for the Crosslet House residents and day-care service users thinks Walk in the Park, Lomond Coordinator, Fran Crumley.
She said: “Walk in the Park are thrilled to be part of the launch of the Walking Pathway programme, providing people living with dementia within our communities the opportunity to walk within the beautiful, nurturing and stimulating surroundings of the Loch Lomond and the Trossachs National Park. Walk in the Park and Crosslet House walk together to help improve individual physical activity levels, build confidence, self-esteem and improve each walker’s sense of well-being each week.”
Crosslet House Day Service Manager, Margaret Mary McQuade is enthusiastic that elderly adults have opportunities for supported exercise. She said: “Crosslet House Day Service have two Bench to Bench Walk groups and a number of service users regularly take part in the Health Walks. They have used West Dunbartonshire’s Heritage trails as part of their walks, learning of our rich history. As their fitness levels have improved, they have travelled to the Kelpies and taken a walk down the Royal Mile in Edinburgh.
“Walking helps them to set new challenges, reminisce about their lives, enjoy their surroundings, and talk to other walkers.”