Active Norfolk working with care home provider, Norse Care and other partners have developed Mobile Me, a programme that uses sport and activity to help those living with the Dementia.
“Some people didn’t want to play at first. But they were soon all laughing, joking and clapping,” says Claire.
“One gentleman, who is usually very quiet and isolated, stood for the whole session and played continuously. His wife said that it was a long time since she’d had such a wonderful time.”
Claire is a coordinator at the Alzheimer’s Society Dementia Café and sees first-hand how dementia can turn lives upside-down.
But this is the positive impact sport and activity can have on people living with the condition.
More than three-quarters of a million people currently live with dementia in the UK and it’s expected that one in three of us will develop the condition at some point in our life.
A diagnosis can drastically interrupt the lives of those affected – and not just for the person living with dementia. Friends and family have to adapt to a new way of life, and it can be tough for everyone.
But that’s where sport and activity can make a real difference. We already know that leading an active lifestyle provides a real boost to physical and mental wellbeing. This applies to people living with dementia too.
THE POWER OF SPORT
Getting active can improve the quality of life for people in all stages of the condition – and Mobile Me from Active Norfolk is a programme funded by Sport England along with funding from Norwich CCG and Norfolk Public Health, to support people living with dementia.
The Mobile Me project predominantly focuses on the over 65's and is designed to address barriers to participation within sport for this age group. It brings physical activity to the communal areas of sheltered housing and residential care settings. The initial 10-week programme improves wellbeing – and helps make physical activity a part of daily life for older people living in these places.
Since 2015, over 580 older people in 42 sites have taken part in adaptable physical activities in common areas of their residential settings. Mobile Me is a research project that looks at how to normalise physical activity as part of a routine for this age group, but also looks at the impact that physical activity can have on social isolation and loneliness amongst residents in these settings, and in turn the impact this has upon a person’s wellbeing.
Some people didn’t want to play at first. But they were soon all laughing, joking and clapping
Claire, Alzheimer's Society Dementia Café coordinator
“The majority of activities offer an element of competition, can be easily adapted and for the most part are failure-free,”
says Project Officer, Ryan Hughes, Active Norfolk.
There are a number of activities residents can take part in, including bowls, table tennis and New Age Kurling – a form of curling that has been adapted so that it can be played indoors on any smooth, flat surface.
More than half of the public who don’t have dementia think that, if they had the condition, they would feel that their life was over.
Sport and activity can help change those perceptions – and make living with dementia easier.
“A resident, who doesn’t normally join in socially and can be negative in attitude and verbally abusive, took part in some bowling from her chair in the first week of the project,”
says Mobile Me project leader, John*.
“Over the next few weeks, with a little support, she was getting herself out of the chair and ready to play with a smile on her face.”
- For more information on Mobile Me contact Ryan Hughes, Physical Activity Project Officer (Mobile Me) email@example.com
- Listen to Victor, Melvin and David, who all live with dementia, discuss Mobile Me on BBC Radio Norfolk (from one hour and 22 minutes).
- Download Turning up the Volume, the Alzheimer’s Society report on the state of dementia in the UK