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The success of armchair Tai Chi at Oakham Grange

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One thing that is truly important to us all here at Oakham Grange is the physical and mental wellbeing of each of our residents, and that can mean something different to each person individually. Some of our residents enjoy a short walk around the lovely park just opposite, others appreciate some reading each day, and we even have resident taking computer lessons. We want to ensure that we can facilitate each person’s likes and interests and also be able to offer opportunities
for our residents to try new things that can benefit their wellbeing.
In February we asked Duncan from Tai Chi Rutland to join us for a trial class of armchair Tai Chi over zoom, to see if it was something the residents might not only enjoy, but also benefit from. We invited each resident and we we’re pleasantly surprised and the initial interest and it’s safe to say that armchair tai chi quickly became one of our most popular activities. We are now lucky to be able to invite Duncan to join us face-to-face. Shirley, one of Oakham Grange’s Activity Coordinators says;
‘I have used armchair tai chi before in a past role and had seen the benefits for my residents at that time, also, I was speaking with a resident at Oakham Grange not long ago and he had mentioned that one of his interest before moving in was Tai Chi and that he knew a local teacher. That really is where it all began.’

Why Tai Chi?

The benefits of Tai Chi are similar to those of meditation and general exercise and it is extremely accessible to most people. Often people stop doing things they enjoy because their bodies have changed and they are afraid of a fall or that they will no longer be able to complete a task, but with this seated adaptation of Tai Chi, this doesn’t have to be a concern. Tai Chi is a calming and stress reducing exercise that doesn’t strain muscles. It is known to support balance and strength and improve cognition, mood and focus.

How else does it benefit our residents?

Some residents, like with most exercise based activities that we organise, can feel sceptical about initially joining a physical class but after attending they feel more comfortable and look forward to the next session. We have received some lovely feedback from participants, saying that they feel a sense of achievement and a new energy, and we have noticed that the attendees of tai chi classes are livelier, chattier, and have a willingness and curiosity to try out other activities. On top of that, the residents have something interesting to talk with their friends and family about, something a bit unusual, not your typical care home activity. It’s a great conversation starter and allows for deeper conversation with visitors and staff members.

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