Perthshire care home residents benefit from activity programme.

Residents at Dalweem Residential Home in Aberfeldy are benefiting from a Care Inspectorate improvement programme to boost physical activity for older people.

Experts say moving more often is a really important way to help older people stay healthy and well.

Suzanne Cowan, Social Care Officer is the Care About Physical Activity programme lead at the care home. Through discussion and support with her manager, she was given two, six hour shifts a week to devote to the programme so that she could deliver it at the home. 

Suzanne explained: “All of our staff team are involved in the project. It’s been really good for me to have this dedicated CAPA time. 

“It helps me keep on top of paperwork and progress our Plan, Do, Study, Act ideas (PDSA).  It also allows me extra time with clients I’m working with and I can also go on to the floor and assist other staff to make sure that changes are being made and improvements are happening.”

Two people, in particular are benefiting from the programme.  Ryan McKenzie, 79, - who has schizophrenia and Doreen Melrose, 87, - who before CAPA had very little mobility and a poor quality of life. 

Suzanne said: “When Ryan came to us, he was very lonely.  He lived on his own for a long time and was very isolated.  Although he loved to walk, he didn’t have the confidence to leave the house and traffic noise frightened him.  This resulted in weight gain and a decline in his mobility.” 

Dalweem has an enclosed garden and with a bit of encouragement, Ryan began to feel safe out there.  He wanted to walk more and to get more fit.  His goal was ultimately to be able to walk by himself to the local newsagent, which is about a half mile away, there and back, and get his newspaper.  A goal he achieved. 

Suzanne continued: “Ryan has lost four kilos and now has a pedometer so that he can make sure he does all his steps.  Despite the recent cold snap, he still goes out every day.  The difference in him is remarkable.  He is more sociable, confident, healthier and mobile as a result.  He has contact with one of his brothers who visits him often and he has told staff he has not seen Ryan this happy in a very long time.” 

Ryan said: “The staff keep me going to ensure I hit my goals.  I’m glad to take part in CAPA, I feel fitter and more able to do things.”

Doreen, another resident has also benefited.  She had very little mobility and was unable to dress herself or move independently.  Suzanne and the team worked with her and an Occupational Therapist to help her to dress herself and to move more.  

Suzanne said: “Doreen is a different person.  She mobilises independently and is more sociable. I feel Doreen has a better quality of life.

Sheena Williamson, CAPA Improvement Adviser said: “It’s great to hear about Ryan and Doreen and the great work happening at Dalweem. CAPA is all about working with people experiencing care to help them to make small improvements that can have a big impact on their quality of life, health and wellbeing.”

The Care Inspectorate is encouraging all care homes to get involved with promoting physical activity for older people.

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