Bupa Residents Find New ‘Spring in Their Step’

by Ross Stebbing

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Jim SmithResidents at a Bupa care home have had the spring put back into their step thanks to an innovative new exercise programme.

The Otago Exercise Programme – which is designed to prevent falls in older people – has been introduced at Bupa’s Balcarres Care Home in Dundee where staff have noted a remarkable difference in the movement and flexibility of many of the residents.

They even credit the regime with getting one 87-year-old man back on his feet.

Otago – which originated in New Zealand – is a series of strength and balancing exercises. It consists of a set of leg muscle strengthening and balance retraining exercises progressing in difficulty, as well as including a walking plan.

Bupa’s Balcarres Care Home manager, Lynn McLean successfully applied for government funding to bring the programme to the Dundee home.

An expert Otago trainer was brought in to train up the in-house Activities Co-ordinator, who then rolled out the programme to residents.

Now, Bupa staff in the home say they have noticed a significant improvement in many of the residents movements. The programme has also allowed the home to underpin its commitment to the Care Inspectorate’s Make Every Moment Count campaign, designed to support physical activity for older people in care homes, ensuring they are able to live quality lives through simple, yet meaningful ways.

Lynn McLean, home manager at Bupa’s Balcarres Care Home said: “I have seen a vast improvement in our residents thanks to these exercises.

Their movements have increased and it has definitely aided and helped prevent falls. Since Otago was introduced, we have not had any resident fall in our home.”

Activities coordinator, Pamela Shaw, underwent six weeks of intensive training on the Otago Exercise Programme.

Pamela said: “The residents have been doing the programme for about two to three months now. I lead an hour class every Monday, Wednesday and Friday as well as working with individual residents.

I think this is one of the best training programmes I have ever done as there has been a massive difference in our residents and now they can’t wait to get out and exercise. It’s a great opportunity for our residents to socialise with one another as well.”

One resident in particular has taken quite a keen interest in the exercises. Jim Smith, 87, was lacking confidence on his feet when he arrived at Balcarres Care Home, but he is now able to walk 20 feet on his own without any assistance.

Pamela added: “Jim takes these workouts very seriously and is eager to continue improving his strength, hoping to walk even further.

I get very emotional every time I see him walk. We have come a long way considering Jim wasn’t very mobile six months ago. He is so determined and motivated to continue improving.”

Jim said: “I enjoy these exercises so much. I like to feel fit and this programme has given me the strength and ability to walk again.”

Public rleations agency account executive Ross Stebbing

Private: Ross Stebbing

As part of the expert PR team at a fast-paced Scottish public relations agency, Ross Stebbing works on diverse clients in sectors including film and media, construction, healthcare and logistics. While he delivers PR in Edinburgh, his results appear in newspapers, magazines and websites all across the UK and beyond.

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