Charity launches resource pack to help care home residents sit less and walk more

National walking charity Paths for All is working with care home residents and staff to develop indoor and outdoor walking activities.

Charity launches resource pack to help care home residents sit less and walk more

People living in care homes can spend long periods of their day sitting or lying down either by choice, frailty, multiple health conditions or lack of opportunity.

By sitting less and being more active everyday residents can help to maintain their cognitive function and daily living capabilities; reduce their risk of falls and cardiovascular disease; and, improve their mood and self‑esteem.

Working with Perth and Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership, Live Active Leisure, and residents and staff from Parkdale Care Home in Auchterarder, Paths for All developed a ‘Care about Walking’ resource pack.

This resource pack, now available online, supports care home residents to walk more by increasing awareness of the benefits of walking and using goal setting and activity tracking to record progress.

The resource pack contains:

  1. A guidance note for care home staff
  2. An information booklet for residents and family members about the health benefits of walking and how to get started
  3. A set of posters with different designs and messages to promote walking around the care home
  4. An A3 wall chart to allow residents to set goals, track when and where they have walked and log the number of steps walked using a pedometer, accelerometer or fitness tracker.

Walking activities can be tailored to each resident’s needs, for example:

  • Organising led Health Walks, or bench to bench walks, corridor walks and walking around the garden
  • Encouraging family members to take residents out for a walk on their visits
  • Bingo, scavenger, nature or heritage walks to get residents spotting birds, flowers and landmarks
  • Performing strength and balance exercises when walking.

Louise Kelly, Care About Physical Activity (CAPA) programme lead with the Care Inspectorate, said: “We are delighted that the good work of older people, care professionals and Paths for All has resulted in this excellent resource. We are sure that the wall chart will be of help to older people to track their achievements over time. We know that many competitive people will already be lacing up their shoes to beat their own record.”

Jessie, a resident at Parkdale Care Home in Auchterarder has been encouraged to walk more as a result of the resource pack. She said: “I enjoy using the resource as I am trying hard to keep my mobility going as long as possible. I enjoy walking within the home looking at pictures and meeting other clients out with my unit and getting a good blether.”

Shona Cormack, activities co-ordinator at Parkdale Care Home, introduced walking activities using the resource pack’s posters and walk chart to support her activities. She has found the resources useful when new residents have joined the care home to make walking part of their daily routine.

Shona said: “I encourage our clients to use the resource and encourage them to walk as much as possible for as long as possible as if they don’t, they will soon lose their confidence and mobility.”

Paths for All’s Dementia Friendly Walking Project is supported by The Life Changes Trust, The National Lottery Community Fund, William Grant Foundation, The Robertson Trust, Spirit of 2012, sportscotland and the Scottish Government.

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