Care home residents will be able to exercise their competitive streaks in sessions of “slipper soccer” and seated volleyball through an “on-demand” streaming service launching on Friday.
Care homes that sign up will have 24-7 access to sports sessions, exercise activities adapted for people with health conditions such as arthritis, singalongs and language lessons.
The wellbeing and exercise service, which launches on Friday, has been designed by the social enterprise company Oomph! to overcome lockdown-inflicted inactivity and isolation.
It was created in partnership with organisations including Sport England, national sports governing bodies, charities and leisure providers.
And it has the backing of two leading care membership organisations – Care England and the National Care Forum (NCF).
The service costs care homes £95 a month, but members of Care England or the NCF are able to get a discount.
Also on offer will be Christmas-themed activities, craft sessions, nature workshops, music therapy, and a comedy performance about Henry VIII.
More than 200 care homes who were already using Oomph!, caring for around 8,000 residents, have been trialling the technology ahead of the full launch.
It is hoped that tens of thousands of care home residents will be able to benefit.
In one home, regular seated exercises have helped a 100-year-old resident as she recovers from a stroke.
Winnifred, known as Win, was a keen dancer and walker in her younger years but now uses a wheelchair.
A stroke three years ago affected her right side but her passion for keeping active has helped her recover.
Win, a resident of Country Court Care’s Ferrars Hall Care Home in Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire, enjoys adapted volleyball sessions and has also made an origami bird.
She is looking forward to solving a personalised crossword that features key moments of her life, created by her carer using Oomph! resources
She said: “They make the exercises so fun and they’re set to proper music not modern rubbish. I love the exercises so much that I even do them in bed at night.”
Steve Gardner, Oomph! wellbeing director and a personal trainer, said: “Care home residents are losing out on so much including the chance to see family members and to take outings.
“We have sharpened our focus on the life-affirming things that older adults can still do.
“‘On demand’ is a no-brainer for enhancing quality of life in every care home in the UK. We’re working closely with care home residents to ensure we are catering for every conceivable taste.”
Professor Martin Green, Care England chief executive, said: “This great new platform is really innovative and it is also well-tailored to life during and beyond the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We know that activities and exercise are so important for all and it’s exciting to have a means to bring such energy to all care homes up and down the country”.