A SOCIAL care charity has brought a bit of magic into the lives of older people in Ellesmere Port.

Tenants at extra care housing schemes Hollymere and Hartley Place, some of whom are living with dementia, have been trying out a new piece of technology called the Happiness Programme.

The programme is becoming popular with care providers as it is proven to increase physical and mental wellbeing.

Using interactive light projections, the Happiness Programme encourages movement and interaction through fun activities such as popping bubbles, playing the piano, stargazing, colouring in pictures, sweeping leaves or chasing fish. Other meaningful activities include word games and general knowledge quizzes.

Light can be projected on to the floor, ceiling, walls, a whiteboard or even a bed, transforming everyday environments into playful and gently stimulating spaces.

The Happiness Programme being tested by tenants at Hollymere in Ellesmere Port.

The Happiness Programme being tested by tenants at Hollymere in Ellesmere Port.

Using the Happiness Programme has been shown to improve mood and behaviours, increase physical, social and cognitive activity, reduce the need for antipsychotic medications and bring positive impacts on relationships with care staff, friends and family.

National adult health and social care charity Making Space, which provides flexible care at both schemes, secured a grant from the Francis Winham Foundation to pay for the technology for 12 months.

A launch event for staff and tenants was held at Hollymere, where everyone enjoyed a buffet alongside the first chance to try out some of the games.

'Friendly activity'

Service manager Rachel Horton said: "We have just received the equipment and we’re so excited to start using it at Hollymere and Hartley Place.

“It’s been wonderful to see a number of our residents starting to explore the wide variety of games and projections the Happiness Programme provides, such as bubble popping, quizzes, car racing and sensory scenes.”

Hollymere tenant Harry Stratton said: "I thought it was excellent. Everyone can gain something from this and it can bring people together.

"Computer games generally frighten me, but this is a friendly activity and I thoroughly enjoyed it."

Hollymere, in Westminster, and Hartley Place in Whitby are purpose built extra care housing developments, providing independent living for people over the age of 55.

Flexible care packages are offered by Making Space, from a simple daily wellbeing check, to several hours a day support with medication, personal care, dealing with correspondence and improving daily living skills. The teams have extensive experience supporting people with learning disabilities, mental health conditions, dementia, long-term health conditions and physical disabilities.