Hello ! My name is Pasna and I have worked within NHS Scotland for 19 years across Acute, Rehab and community settings, the age span and physical, mental and sensory health conditions. The highlight of my NHS career was when the Scottish Government released their first ever National Dementia strategy from a Public health intervention idea I coined, with further design and delivery with Social Work and Leisure Partners in 2010.
Weekday Wow Factor is a Public Health Occupational therapy venture based in Greater Glasgow. It’s a Social Enterprise (not for profit organisation) which aims to create exciting leisure opportunities for adults of all ages to enhance health, wellbeing and reduce inequalities, loneliness and ageism in our communities. Our Target group are older adults. It brings occupational therapy, public health and social enterprise principals together to maximise our communities’ potential to live well with or without long term health conditions.
During my NHS Scotland career, I identified missed opportunities to tap into existing, leisure establishments, many of which lie empty during the weekday, for example ten pin bowling alleys. I was interested in early intervention and prevention, using motivating and existing leisure activities, normally reserved for younger people, to fit a person with or without long term health conditions. Aims were to live well and have a more satisfying life for longer by awakening the inner child. Weekday was the most accessible time for the target group when more public transport was available, its generally warmer and brighter, therefore safer conditions and more carers available.
The first Daytime Disco in a mainstream, trendy Nightclub idea was born as a result of working with some people with dementia, who had lost communication skills but were physically active. During assessment some of the communication skills were enhanced through disco dancing. When looking for resources in the community for dancing, there were dance classes, however at their stage of their dementia, they were unable to follow a mainstream dance class and maybe perceived as disruptive. My assessment findings revealed dancing was a positive form of communication by those with advanced dementia, with positive behaviours and feelings witnessed by loved ones. Music was a powerful motivator and dance a healthy occupation. Disco dancing was one of the most accessible and enjoyable activities which can be graded at many levels.
For instance, seated on a chair, leaning against a wall or using walking aids eg. Dancing with a stick is now the latest ‘Pole” dancing… to dancing independently! Choosing to take part at own pace and steps, with own choice of music is a big part of disco dancing. There is also choice of who to dance with and how to dance, whether alone or with others. Disco dancing brings communities together. Our Participants range from younger people with learning disabilities to older adults with and without carers. Some older adults are independent and drive to our venues on days off work, to those who attend with Care Home staff. We have seen people with dementia who refuse to dance with their formal carers, but are keen to dance with new community members, especially those who may have higher caring needs than themselves. We have observed some with long standing mental health difficulties reporting its a safer community opportunity, as no one is judging them. Some community members have come for several months taking in the ambience of the music, lights and watching others dancing, then choosing one day to get up and dance on the dance floor!
Risk assessment is undertaken by formal and informal carers, who know the person best, if they lack capacity in decision making. Weekday Wow Factor can contribute to this risk assessment. Our role is to carry out a community group rather than individual risk assessment, we work closely with leisure providers and caring organisations. Examples of our activities are Ten Pin Bowling, Adventure Golf, Zip sliding with Go Ape, sledging, canoeing, trampolining, murder mystery lunch, speed boating, rural walks, foraging, go karting, cycling, indoor climbing, chocolate making workshop and immunity building workshop using plants, surfing, and mountaineering using Glencoe chair lifts.
One example of applying Occupational Therapy principals are during this month’s rural walk activity, where there was an option to climb the mountain using a chair lift. Many of our participants were keen to go up the chair lift to challenge themselves with their long standing fear of heights. This was their choice and they were in control of their decision making. Others were keen to challenge themselves and to walk the distance from the Bus stop to the chair lift – 1.5 miles one way. They felt a great sense of achievement after the activity and learned more about themselves. They remarked having the safety net of the Occupational Therapist’s car to shuttle them from any point was helpful. The Occupational Therapist also carried hiking sticks, first aid kit, camping chairs, mobile phone and water throughout the activity and had previously completed the risk assessment working closely with Glencoe Ski centre management.
Our work was previously featured on BBC News, BBC Breakfast News, STV Glasgow and we have been invited to speak at many health related conferences, including CIPFA- Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy’s Annual conference. We were also kindly featured in OT News front cover, January 2018 edition. A Facebook post about our Daytime disco has received 1.1 Million views with over 1K comments and shares in the UK.
We are keen on partnership working and would love to hear form fellow AHPs about how we can work together in the future to enhance the health and wellbeing of our local communities.
Thank you for reading and any further discussions are very welcome!
Public Health Occupational Therapist
Director Weekday Wow Factor CIC
Public contact number 07717732542
We possess a very active Facebook page with over 1000 followers: Weekday Wow Factor.