National Walking Month should be an exciting and enjoyable month for each and every resident, regardless of their walking ability.
Our AC Mentor Jan Millward explains how to make the event inclusive for all.
For residents who are able to walk…
Mark out a route along corridors or in the garden if you have one easily accessible. Make clear signs for 5 yards, 10 yards, 15 yards, and so on. Assign each resident a daily challenge that is suited to their physical ability level. At the end of the month, hand out rewards (print off simple certificates or just use gold star stickers!) to each resident who has stuck with the challenge and reached their goal.
Encourage more walking than normal when out in the park or in the shops. If a resident can manage a few steps safely inside the home then let them do it! Remember to celebrate each achievement, however small. The aim of this event is to get each person moving more than they normally would.
For residents who cannot stand or walk…
Set daily toe-tap challenges! Play music and make it an exciting part of the day.Make National Walking Month the focus of your chair-based exercise sessions, by focusing on lower leg and foot movements and playing songs that are themed around walking (e.g. These Boots Were Made For Walking, The Grand Old Duke Of York, etc)
For residents who are bed bound or with limited physical movement…
It is important to still involve residents who are unable to participate physically. Those who cannot move their feet may suit the role of referee – get them to clock the steps of the more mobile group and hand out the awards. You could also involve them in prepping any signs and certificates.
If they are unable to get out of bed, allocate time to provide a gentle foot massage using sensitive skin cream. Talk to the resident about what the event and reminisce with them about where they have enjoyed walking. You may be able to use an iPad to show them pictures of their favourite place.
For everyone –
Try to incorporate the theme of walking in other activities throughout the month. Gather a small box of discussion prompts, such as maps, a compass and a book of suggested walks.
There are lots of wonderful videos of British walks available to view online. Offer a ‘virtual walk’ session by playing one of the videos on a large screen.Here is an example.