Yorkshire-based dementia care specialist Vida Healthcare is investing in the long term health and wellbeing of its residents with stretching classes led by ex-Westend star Emma Flett.
Launched in its two homes, Vida Hall and Vida Grange, in June 2020, the stretching initiatives have proven to be a big hit with staff and residents.
Leading a physically active lifestyle and incorporating movement into everyday life can significantly improve the wellbeing of people living with dementia. Benefits can include reduced risk of certain cancers, increased mobility, greater self-esteem and more independence when carrying out daily tasks.
Charlotte Gibbs, Wellbeing Lead at Vida Hall, has seen a positive impact on the residents who’ve been involved: “Residents are keen to take part and they remember the time of the stretching classes, and are able to memorise and maintain basic stretching routines. This is a significant milestone for many of our residents, especially those living in the later stages of dementia.
“We’ve seen specific people benefit from the classes, for example one resident* broke their shoulder three years ago and since we’ve introduced the stretching they’ve achieved a greater range of motion than previously possible.”
Emma Flett who leads the classes added: “Residents really enjoy the sessions and I can see improvements each week. This time gives both staff and residents the opportunity to do something different and strengthen their bond which has been especially important during lockdown when loved ones haven’t been able to visit.”
Originally involved in London’s West End, Emma Flett has starred in shows including ‘A Secret Garden’, ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Goodnight Mr Tom’. She is currently a tutor in acting and movement at The Drama Studio London, part of The University of West London and also teaches stretch classes with Psalms & Stretches.
Staying mobile can reduce the need for constant supervision from carers and enable people living with dementia to enjoy a better quality life. Whether walking, stretching or using an exercise bike, where possible movement and physical activity should always be encouraged.