A Yorkshire based care home group is helping residents to boost their physical and mental strength after launching a series of bespoke ‘lockdown proof’ exercise classes and programmes.
Czajka Care Group’s five nursing and care homes are helping both its older residents, and its younger residents with disabilities, improve their mobility and wellbeing with regular exercise classes that include chair ‘aerobics’, stretching exercises, seated marches and catching and throwing games, alongside gentle resistance movements and musical motion activation.
Czajka Care Group’s managing director, Konrad Czajka, explained: “When the first lockdown hit, a lot of our fitness and music classes, that are hosted by external specialists, had to stop. Our priority was keeping our residents safe, but unfortunately this did result in a reduction of structured exercise amongst our residents.”
A recent report from the National Care Forum (NCF) and the University of Leeds has also studied the effects of the pandemic on care home residents’ fitness and movement. It recommended that care homes employ exercise instructors who can train care staff and help them access online exercise programmes for older people. It stated that staff should take “creative approaches” to enhance levels of physical activity, motivate residents to maintain or increase their exercise, and encourage them to exercise alone if they are self-isolating.
Konrad added: “We understand what an important role exercise and movement plays in both the everyday life of older people and in assisting rehabilitation. We have therefore invested in specialist exercise equipment and trained our activity co-ordinators and care workers to take on the role of exercise coach.
“We have been proactive, learning new skills and ensuring that our residents are still able to get together at least once a week in a group setting to take part in exercise and movement classes. With an inclusive and welcoming approach, we ensure everyone feels comfortable and in control, gradually introducing exercises and making sure they are fun. By using soft, lightweight equipment, and also game play and music, our residents are always keen to take part.”