Tai Chi proves to be a hit with elderly Norwich residents

Chris Abbott from Sprowston Martial Arts teaching Tai Chi to Yvonne Pocklington, 90. Picture: Brookl

Chris Abbott from Sprowston Martial Arts teaching Tai Chi to Yvonne Pocklington, 90. Picture: Brooklands care home - Credit: Brooklands care home.

Residents at a Norwich care home are learning to combat stress with Tai Chi sessions.

The recently launched classes on the 13th century Chinese martial arts at Brooklands care home, in Costessey Lane, has proved so popular that it has become a permanent fixture.

The sessions, by Chris Abbott from Sprowston Martial Arts, are believed to be the first for a care home in Norfolk.

Home manager Julia Chapman-Wright said: "It's been quite extraordinary. Really notable improvements in not just our resident's physical health but also real benefits from those living with advanced dementia - where we have observed them really relaxing and with their anxiety levels reducing.

"We have noticed a significant reduction in falls since the Tai Chi and other fitness classes we offer have started."

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Tracy, daughter of resident, Shirley Thorne, 81, who loves watching the classes, said: "Everyone is so chilled out, even if just watching, it's amazing to see them all joining in with the movements - the look of concentration on their faces, even those with advanced dementia is amazing."

Amongst residents who regularly attend are Joan Banger, 91, Yvonne Pocklington, 90, and Kate MacNae, 76.

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Mr Abbott said: "Tai Chi is often referred to as "meditation in motion". Its primary purpose is to calm the mind and release physical tension from the body. Being a slow and controlled practice, it is low-impact and extremely relaxing.

"It involves gently flowing movements, breathing exercises and meditation. The slow and gentle nature of Tai Chi allows everybody the opportunity to take part and enjoy the benefits."

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