A new chair-based exercise programme is being used to change the lives of dementia patients and stroke survivors who live in a residential home.

Residents at Braintree Nursing Home, in Coggeshall Road, have been benefitting from the innovative programme designed and delivered by Eddie Willett, a personal trainer who specialises in getting older people mobile and motivating them to stay active in their later years.

Mr Willett believes it is clear keeping up exercise has benefits to people of all ages, but within his industry, he is fairly unusual in that he really wants to helps and work with older people to get them moving again.

Keeping pensioners mobile is not always the easiest or safest thing to do, which is where the gentle nature of the programme really helps.

Mr Willett used to work as a carer, but after leaving the profession to become a personal trainer, didn’t want to give up care home work completely.

He said: “I was in social work for about six years.

“I used to do a lot of domiciliary work and when I became a personal trainer I always felt older people seemed to be completely forgotten.

“In a lot of care homes some residents are left to themselves, and that is really one of the reasons I wanted to get involved.”

There is scientific evidence which shows regular physical activity can improve mental wellbeing in older people and even improve the lives of people with existing medical conditions like dementia.

But your average spin class would, unfortunately, not be suitable for a group of 90-plus year olds to take part in.

“I deliver exercise programmes that are fun and have a positive impact on mobility and motivation for care home residents,” Mr Willett said.

“As well as dementia sufferers it includes Stroke survivors where loss of mobility is often accompanied by loss of confidence.’’

The exercise takes place from the residents’ chairs but the programme is not restrictive, and even people with very limited mobility can take part.

Mr Willett said: “The response from folks who are chair bound has been really amazing and their carers tell me how much they look forward to my sessions.

“It is hugely rewarding for me and I really love doing it.”

Braintree Nursing Home residents are already feeling the benefits of the programme, and staff have praised Mr Willett’s work, saying most residents were delighted to see him every week.

For more information, visit www.ascensionfitnesswellbeing.com/care-homes.