The TRS Teachers see the power of Active Armchairs every time they facilitate a session. We even have a research report that scientifically proves it’s benefits. Recently Jenny has been experiencing a particularly huge amount of joy in her sessions and she wanted to write about it. Below she shares a personal and, sometimes, cheesy, insight into, what it’s like to bring joy and laughter to the participants as well as to herself.
The Power of Active Armchairs
Written by Jenny, Level Three TRS Teacher and Active Armchairs Facilitator
I am just about to embark on my 3rd year of teaching Active Armchairs and have been reflecting on my journey of teaching these wonderful sessions. I believe that the joy and happiness that the sessions bring to both participants and facilitators is so powerful both mentally, physically and emotionally.
As I go into the care homes that I visit each week, I know that each session will be individual, different and special. I come away with a sense of achievement and a range of emotions. Some sessions are harder than others, there are a lot of factors that can effect how a session will go; How are the residents feeling today, what time of day I visit the home, how I am feeling on that day, what activity have they been taking part in before my session and many more. Sometimes there are only a few residents in each session who participate and sometimes I have a whole room full. All of these factors can change my plans of what I include in the session, how I deliver it and the pace of the session too. I can adapt to the people in the room and this is a skill that I have developed over time.
Some sessions I find harder than others. Dementia can be hard to see sometimes and seeing the range of physical limitations some residents have reminds me that life is short and to make the most of every moment. Loosing my Grandmother at the beginning of this year was hard to keep going into the homes at times as it reminded me of her journey in the last year of her life and sometimes I came away feeling sad. But seeing the benefits that Active Armchairs has for so many of the wonderful people I meet makes me feel so proud to do what I do and it is one of my favourite parts of my week. I know my Grandmother would be super proud of me.
Hearing about my fellow Active Armchairs facilitators sessions is inspirational too. I love to see other people teach and hear their stories. Seeing some of the posts shared on social media always makes me smile. Erica’s intergenerational sessions at Rochester Care Home have inspired me to think outside the box, given me new ideas and been a joy to hear about. Knowing that the sessions have been so important for the care home residents but also for the young people at St Andrew’s School puts a huge smile on my face. Lara inspired me with her ideas she used for the Age UK Sheppey sessions she did earlier this year and Victory House shared a few posts this year about Shanice’s sessions which looked colourful, joyous and plenty of fun.
I have had a few sessions recently where I have laughed… A lot! Talking to the residents is such an important part and getting to know them is always a pleasure. Some of them can be a little cheeky at times which results in us filling the room with laughter. Little jokes that they come up with, stories they tell and laughs that we share makes me feel so inflated with joy as I know I have given them a good experience and one that they have really benefited from.
When I finish the sessions I often get words of thanks from the residents and carers. The words ‘ Thank you’ and ‘Looking forward to seeing you next time’ mean a thousand words. I am so gratefully to experience the ‘Power’ of an Active Armchairs facilitator.