In the words of Alice Walker “Hard times require furious dancing" and the residents of Whitecraigs care home are proof of this.
Living in a care home throughout this pandemic has been a strange and worrying time. Particularly if we are to believe the stories we hear in the media. However, some of our residents at Whitecraigs have been busting the myths around many of these stories.
The residents at Whitecraigs have certainly been embodying these wise words from Alice Walker. In these difficult times, we’ve been trying to maintain our physical and mental wellbeing through embracing the arts: dance, music, painting, and expression.
The greatest impact of this allowed us the opportunity to express our emotions. We can express when we are happy and playful, however, we can also say when we’re feeling fearful, stressed or down in a really creative and engaging way. By communicating our worries, we’re able to create solutions to reduce them.
We believe a happy home is a healthy home and the benefits of using the arts have been threefold for our emotional, mental and physical wellbeing. The benefits of participation in physical activity are clear – increased range of movement, improved strength and stamina and better coordination. Even gentle chair-based movements have been shown to improve the heart and lungs whilst increasing muscular strength, endurance and motor fitness.
There is real joy found in creative movement, whether that be in a 1 to 1 session or as a group activity. We use music to transport us back to better times or motivate us to work towards brighter days.
Residents at Whitecraigs have greatly benefited from this approach. Comments like: “I just love the dancing, it’s magic!” and “I feel fantastic after it!”
We’ve also been keeping connected to our local community, we were so active in community events pre COVID, so it’s been important to us to try and maintain this. We regularly ‘Zoom’ our local primary school children during their dance classes: “Oh that’s lovely! Aren’t they good!” was just one of the comments. This also encourages movement from our residents. Dance is a universal language that connects us all. We feel elated through the music and movement.
So, our theory during this pandemic at Whitecraigs has been: Instead of waiting for the storm to pass, we’re learning how to dance in the rain.