A chair based exercise programme designed specifically for older people with dementia is being rolled out across the country after trials have proved it has demonstrable benefits in the physical, emotional and cognitive aspects of everyday life.
The Love to Move programme, created by the British Gymnastics Foundation, is aimed at getting older people moving and functioning better, with a view to improving the lives of those living with dementia. It is made unique by incorporating specially designed ‘bilaterally asymmetrical exercises’ where the individual draws different patterns with the left-hand side of their body to the right-hand side.
In trials conducted by Age UK, 150 residents in care homes took part in the Love to Move programme and the results were very encouraging with the majority of participants showing improvements in posture, movement and memory, as well as greater social engagement with staff and other residents.
Improvements reported included some of the participants being able to use their hands again to feed themselves, do crafts and play bingo as well as socialising with friends and family. Other benefits highlighted in the research show participants being taken off medication for hypertension, depression and sleeping difficulty.
This age and dementia friendly programme is astonishing people with its life-changing benefits. So many people involved are seeing their lives improving as a result of the programme and it is remarkable that people are regaining functions which were thought to be lost because of the Love to Move gymnastics based exercises.
British Gymnastics Foundation Manager
The Love to Move programme is based on a programme developed by the Korean and Japanese Gymnastics Federations which has proved so beneficial for people living with dementia it is now completely state funded and runs in every care home across the two countries.
British Gymnastics Foundation have taken the core principles of this programme and adapted it for use in Great Britain.
After such positive trials, the British Gymnastics Association is now raising funds to train more staff to deliver the programme and make it more widely available across the country.
They have also produced a Love to Move booklet containing some of the key exercises from the programme which people can try at home.
To download the Love to Move booklet of sample exercises, read the full Age UK research report, and find out more about fundraising, click the link here to visit www.britishgymnasticsfoundation.org/lovetomove/