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British Gymnastics training people to supervise dementia-friendly sessions

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British Gymnastics is getting prepared to train more people to deliver chair-based gymnastics for people with dementia following a successful pilot.

The governing body’s foundation is in the process of securing funding to expand the training and rollout of the scheme across the country. A crowdfunding campaign has been set up already.

More than 150 people took part in the foundation’s Love to Move programme – inspired by the Korean and Japanese Gymnastics Federation’s dementia-friendly initiative – which aims to get older people moving and improve the quality of life of those living with dementia.

Those delivering the sessions reported “positive outcomes”, with 71 per cent of participants demonstrating physical improvements, 86 per cent improving social skills and 93 per cent appearing happier and more settled.

The scheme was launched after a piece of research conducted by the British Gymnastics Foundation and Age UK revealed that chair-based gymnastics improved “physical, emotional and cognitive aspects” of older people.

Indeed, some of the participants in the scheme were able to use their hands to feed themselves, do crafts and play bingo following sessions, while others have been taken off medication for depression and sleeping difficulty.

Patrick Bonner, British Gymnastics Foundation manager, said the programme was “astonishing” with its “life-changing benefits”.

“So many people involved are seeing their lives improving as a result of the programme and it is remarkable that people are regaining functions which were thought to be lost because of the Love to Move gymnastics-based exercise,” he added.

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British Gymnastics is getting prepared to train more people to deliver chair-based gymnastics for people with dementia following a successful pilot.
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93 per cent of participants appeared happier and more settled after taking part in the sessions