Care home residents are drumming up their energy levels with a new high intensity exercise class.
Using drum sticks to knock out rhythms on rubber exercise balls while they enjoy some snappy tunes is proving a bit hit with the people who live at the Pendine Park care organisation in Wrexham.
Elaine Lee, an enrichment and activities co-ordinator, at the Penybryn care home, a centre of excellence caring for younger people with neurological problems caused by acquired brain injury and conditions such as multiple sclerosis and stroke, came up with the idea.
Resident Mike Blakeley, 57, a former cabinet maker from Bagillt in Flintshire loves the Drum Aloud sessions
He said: “I suffered a really bad stroke and have to use a wheelchair. I like doing Drum Aloud and always feel that bit stronger after each session. The staff at Penybryn are brilliant, especially Elaine who works really hard.
“I honestly feel drumming on the exercise balls has made me feel better and stronger. I look forward to it every week.”
Fellow resident Emma Barber, 40, who is originally from Lixwm, was equally enthusiastic.
She said: “It’s really good fun and I really enjoy it. I’m stuck in a wheelchair so it’s good exercise and keeps me moving. Its miles better than sitting and just watching the telly.
“The staff are really good and are always thinking up new ideas to get those residents that want to get involved doing new things.”
John Gray, who hails from Ruthin suffers from encephalitis, a rare but serious condition in which the brain becomes inflamed.
The condition has left John, who used to run his own engineering company in Sandycroft employing more than 60 people, wheelchair-bound and with limited movement.
He said: “I have been here six months and the staff are great and very dedicated particularly Tracey Cuthill the registered manager who is fabulous.
John Gray’s friends, Malcolm Dinsdale, of Buckley and Rod Kavanagh of Alvanley, Frodsham, were visiting Penybryn and joined in the Drum Aloud session.
Malcolm said: “I served my apprenticeship with John many years ago. Contracting encephalitis was devastating for John but the progress he’s made in Penybryn is remarkable.
“I find it amazing what they do and the Drum Aloud idea is inspired. The registered manager Tracey Cuthill is fabulous and we couldn’t be happier for John. He’s definitely in the right place.”
Rod Kavanagh added: “It’s fantastic coming to see John; I also did my apprenticeship with him years and years ago. I too have seen a big improvement in John’s condition and he’s doing and looks so much better.
“I have enjoyed watching residents enjoy their Drum Aloud session. The staff put so much effort into what they do and it’s clearly beneficial to residents.”
Elain Lee explained: “I came across Drum Aloud while surfing the internet looking for ideas to get our residents more active. I managed to get some exercise balls from a local supermarket and some drum sticks and that’s all we needed along with the music.
“Residents enjoy singing along to the songs while drumming on the exercise balls and those that are unable to manage to drum use tambourines or shake bells that we give them.
“The main thing is everyone is equal and everyone benefits from what we do. The residents really enjoy it and look forward to our weekly sessions. It’s a chance to let their hair down and get some exercise done.
“It’s difficult if residents are permanent wheelchair users, and most are. What we do is get their arms, shoulders and bodies moving. They get a lot of pleasure from it and some really take all their frustrations out on the exercise balls.”
She added: “It is really catching on and it’s something residents look forward to. I might try and expand Drum Aloud into other Pendine Park care homes in the future.
“However, as our residents are a bit younger and they like the music quite loud and love joining in with the singing.”
Penybryn manager Tracy Cuthill said: “I’m delighted residents of Penybryn are benefitting from a new exercise class devised and organised by activities coordinator Elaine Lee.
“It is important to us that residents are encouraged to join in activities that can and will benefit them, although no one is forced to take part against their will. “
“We are always looking for new ideas and new ways of stimulating residents, particularly those with brain injuries or those that have suffered conditions such as a stroke. The Drum Aloud sessions are a big hit in more than one way.”