WCS Care has introduced the ‘world’s first specifically devised therapy table tennis table’ to its homes to help improve the lives of older people and people living with dementia.
Residents at two homes run by the Warwickshire-based charity, Drovers House in Rugby and Castle Brook in Kenilworth, are among the first globally to try out the tables which promote exercise and encourage mobility.
Specially designed by the BAT Foundation, the therapy table tennis tables include side panels that increase spatial awareness, create a secure, non-distracting, and comforting play zone, and help ensure the ball remains in play for longer. It means anyone can have a go, regardless of ability.
Ed Russell, Director of Innovation and Delivery for WCS Care, the first care home provider in England to be recognised with six ‘outstandings’ from the CQC, said: ‘We’re really excited about the early impact the BAT Foundation therapy table tennis tables have had on people’s lives, which is evident from the smiles and laughter when they play.
‘We look forward to more fun as we work with the BAT Foundation to roll out these tables to our other homes shortly and find new ways of ensuring every day is well lived for residents.’
The BAT Foundation’s therapy table tennis table’s ground-breaking design is the culmination of years of development between BAT and their partners including Butterfly, Inclusion, University of Stirling, and King’s College London.
Ian Craigton-Chambers, BAT Foundation Trustee and Creative Director, said: ‘Table tennis has long been perceived in the US and Japan as a very effective drug-free and carer-inclusive therapy for people with dementia, so we wanted to promote the use of the sport in this way in the UK.
‘Working closely with the University of Stirling’s Dementia Design Institute, we’ve created a table tennis table to significantly enhance the therapeutic experience, help delay the onset of symptoms, and improve spatial awareness, hand-eye coordination and balance, among other positive benefits.’
Meanwhile, WCS Care has also introduced a side-by-side bike-for-two and cycle track at several of its homes – Castle Brook in Kenilworth, Drovers House in Rugby (bike sponsored by the Royal Bank of Scotland), and Sycamores in Leamington Spa – to encourage exercise and time outdoors.
Ed added: ‘Spending time outdoors has lots of benefits for older people and people with dementia. Not only can the fresh air help you feel happier, it can also help reduce stress, and the sunlight provides a good source of vitamin D.
‘Daylight also helps keep the body in a solid circadian cycle, helping improve sleep and daytime alertness which has positive impacts on people with dementia, so the side-by-side bike-for-two is a great excuse to get outdoors, create memories, and give your health and wellbeing a boost.’
WCS Care aims to introduce the bikes, also known as companion cycles, at more of its homes shortly, as part of its plans to encourage residents to spend at least 90 minutes outside every week.
On Friday 30th June 2017, residents at Drovers House welcomed Mark Pawsey, MP for Rugby and Bulkington, to their home to officially launch the therapy table tennis table and side-by-side bike-for-two.
94-year-old former dressmaker Daphne, who lives at Drovers House, said: ‘It’s great spending time outdoors in my home’s beautiful garden and sharing memories on the bike-for-two – it’s something I regularly look forward to doing.
‘Taking our local MP out for a spin round the cycle track was certainly a highlight!’