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Ball therapy at Kilmarnock Heights Home

Ball therapy at Kilmarnock Heights Home

Kilmarnock111A new informal therapy, introduced by a resident of Enliven’s Kilmarnock Heights Home, is proving popular with residents of the Berhampore rest home.

For years Johnnie Wood has experienced the benefits of ‘ball therapy’, which involves simply bouncing, catching and playing with bouncy balls.

“We do it when we have spare time at the home – it’s about improving hand-eye coordination and keeping active,” says Johnnie.

“We throw and catch the balls and bounce them in time to music. The balls we use are easy to grip and catch, and they bounce beautifully.”

At first some of the residents didn’t think they would be able to grip or catch the balls, but after the first session they were surprised with what they could do, plus they had fun doing it.

“People are in fits of laughter because the balls bounce about unpredictably. It’s a bit of fun,” says Johnnie.

Kilmarnock Heights Home recreation officer Annelize Steyn says as a result of the sessions the home has seen improvements in resident’s coordination and confidence.

“Decreasing hand function is associated with aging and there can be changes in coordination, so the ball therapy is a way of helping to improve this,” explains Annelize.

“Residents get huge enjoyment and energy from the sessions – the laughter in the room is infectious. It often sparks memories of childhood too, even amongst those with memory loss.”

The spontaneous ball therapy sessions have been so successful that Johnnie received recognition at Enliven’s annual Quality and Innovation Awards.

Annelize explains that Johnnie was nominated in the Best Eden Initiative category which is for initiatives and projects that reflect Enliven’s model of care, called the Eden Alternative.

“We nominated Johnnie because ball therapy makes a difference to encouraging companionship, spontaneity and meaningful activity for our residents, which reflects the Eden Alternative – our home’s model of care,” Annelize says.

The Eden Alternative is an elder-directed model of care embraced by all Enliven homes, which aims to provide variety and spontaneity, companionship, contact with children and animals, continuing hobbies and meaningful activity.

For more information about Enliven’s Kilmarnock Heights Home, located at 20 Morton Street in Berhampore, call 04 380 2034, email kilmarnockheights@psc.org.nz or click here.

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