Walking project for care home residents wins prestigious award

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l-r host Brian Burnett, Emma Anderson of Paths for All, P&K HSCP falls service manager Carolyn Wilson and Cabinet Secretary for Communities and Local Government ​Aileen Campbell

A walking project which aims to improve the lives of older people has won a national award.

Walking charity Paths for All’s ‘Care About Walking’ project won the Coaching for an Active Life category of sportscotland’s Coaches, Officials and Volunteer 2019 awards.

The project was supported by the Perth & Kinross Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) Falls Service.

The national sporting agency event singled out the project for its work with older adults in care homes, who often experience a sedentary lifestyle and spend 80-90% of their time sitting or lying down.

Care home staff have been trained on walk leading, strength and balance exercises, and evaluation techniques to increase their knowledge, skills and confidence.

Resource packs were developed which contain posters and a step count chart to log the number of steps walked. Wall stickers and outdoor panels depicting strength and balance exercises have also been installed.

Walking activities are tailored to the residents’ needs through consultation and taster sessions. Some activities are self-directed, and others are led by a member of staff or a community volunteer. Residents feedback has been overwhelmingly positive with tangible improvements in functional fitness.

The Care About Walking project was piloted with Parkdale Care Home in Auchterarder to integrate walking activities into the daily routine of care homes.

It has been expanded to work with five care homes in Perth & Kinross, in partnership with Perth & Kinross HSCP, Live Active Leisure’s Stride for Life project and the Care Inspectorate’s Care About Physical Activity (CAPA) programme.

Perth & Kinross HSCP falls service manager Carolyn Wilson is delighted with this national recognition of the Care About Walking project. Carolyn said, “Moving more and walking is important for health and wellbeing and enables us to enjoy everyday life.

“Through walking more and using the strength and balance exercise panels around the care home and in the gardens, residents are also reducing their risk of falling.

“Our partnership with Paths for All, working alongside residents and their care staff, has enabled innovative and appropriate resources to be created. This is providing the best practice for care services across Scotland.”

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Carolyn and Emma with the award

Jessie, one of the residents from Parkdale Care Home, who helped to develop the Care About Walking resource pack, said, On a daily basis I keep a note of how many extra steps I have walked and then I total it all up monthly.  It is very important to me to keep my mobility going, to be active and to also socialise on my walks around the building.  I am encouraged by the staff in Parkdale to do this.”             

Keeping active in later life can have mental health benefits for older adults in care as it gives them an interest, maintains functional fitness, and prevents boredom and aggressive behaviour.

A video about the winning project can be found at https://sportfirst.sportscotland.org.uk/articles/cov-winner-care-about-walking/

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