A unique scheme, giving extra support to rebuild the confidence and improve the fitness of people coming out of shielding, helped more than 130 residents reclaim their independence and improve their wellbeing this summer.
The three-month project saw Wokingham Borough Council’s sport and leisure, and adult social care teams, working alongside voluntary services organisations The Link Visiting Scheme and Age UK Berkshire supporting residents in their homes, post lockdown, to rebuild their confidence both physically and mentally.
People needing this specific help were referred to the borough council by The Link and Age UK Berkshire, with leisure instructors visiting them at home wearing PPE to give chair-based exercises. They visited them for four to five weeks also building an empowering rapport.
One 71-year-old gentleman, who walks with sticks and has dementia, had been missing his exercise sessions at his local day centre during lockdown. He received one-to-one exercise sessions and says his confidence has improved hugely, feels much stronger and is enjoying being active again.
A 92-year-old lady had completely lost her confidence and said she also needed to strengthen her mobility. Following the sessions she says she is standing better, has much stronger legs and is walking. She says she looked forward to the visits and now thinks that, “exercise is good and not boring.”
An 88-year-old gentleman with Alzheimer’s was missing the Dementia Café in Wokingham during lockdown. He said he had lost his confidence going out and was wobbly on his feet. He says that after the sessions he, “felt stronger and had more confidence - it was a great experience and a huge benefit.”
One lady was still recovering from a knee replacement and had recently suffered a stroke. She was struggling to walk, even with a stick, and her muscles were weak. She says the sessions were very helpful. “It has given me a lot of confidence and better balance. I’m happy to do more exercise now following lockdown.”
Cllr Charles Margetts, executive member for health, wellbeing and adult services, said: “During lockdown our most vulnerable residents suffered greatly with many of their pre-lockdown support services on hold or running virtually.
“Those with mobility problems were stuck at home, and for many they were also starved of face-to-face human contact. Once lockdown finished, we were able to do something about this. This scheme not only helped them physically to rebuild their strength and regain their independence, but fantastic friendships were formed between them and our staff which in turn boosted their mental wellbeing.
“The positive results of the project speak for themselves. It’s also another fantastic example of what can be done when we and local voluntary services organisations work together as one.”