Focus, Fun and a Good Laugh: Poi in a Residential Care Home

My name is Elaine and I am an Activity Coordinator in a Residential Care Home. My role is to provide a range of activities on a daily basis relevant to residents needs and interests. I came across SpinPoi whilst trawling the internet one day and became fascinated by this form of exercise, and was particularly interested in Kate’s endeavor to bring Poi into care homes. I’m always looking for new ideas to introduce into the activity programme and after reading the benefits of poi in aged care I couldn’t wait to begin.

I set about making some sock poi (7 sets in all, 1 for myself and 6 sets for a small group). My intention was to work on different movements with the end result of residents being able to follow the movements to the E Rere Taku Poi song (once with the left hand, once with the right hand, then both hands together). Our residents are male and female, with age ranges from 64 – 99 years young! They have a range of conditions, including dementia. Most need mobility aids for walking. It can be quite difficult to get a group of residents together to join in activities but one activity a number of residents will join in is exercise. And this is good, because exercise and keeping mobile is very important.

Our sessions have been running for around 6 weeks now – a small group of the same residents, and what they have achieved is marvellous! The improvements seen are incredible. I have witnessed residents with minimum concentration skills be really focused. Residents who find it difficult to follow instructions, follow sets of instructions. They can follow rhythms and timings. And they can now complete the E Rere Taku Poi routine! (The movements may not be perfect but this a great achievement). This is a great social activity too, as it gives the residents the opportunity to chat with other residents they do not normally have contact with throughout the day. And they find it fun! The room is filled with laughter when the Poi don’t go in the direction wanted! And they sing along to E Rere Taku Poi.

I had intended to run the sessions with the group for around 8 weeks and then run with another group of residents. I haven’t the heart to tell these residents the group will be ending. Think I will have to incorporate new members into the existing group!  Some of the comments from the group when asked why they enjoy the sessions:

Ella: “It’s exercise.”
Marie: “And its great fun.”
Ivy: “ You get a good laugh.”
Martha: “I need it. If I don’t do it I seize up.”

Elaine is an Activity Coordinator in a Residential Care Home in the UK.