By Kara LaFreeda, wellness manager, and Jennifer Grassi, recreation coordinator, Masonic Village at Lafayette Hill
Residents of Masonic Village took first place at the 34th annual Senior Games in Plymouth Meeting. More than just about winning, the Senior Games are a wonderful event which:
- Gives residents an opportunity to make new friends
- Fosters camaraderie
- Promotes physical activity
- Provides a fun, diversional activity that takes the mind off problems, pain, etc.
- Creates a sense of anticipation – something to look forward to
- Offers a topic of conversation and gives the residents something positive to share with their families
We practice as a team two times a week for around six weeks. This provides residents a social opportunity, as well as a physical goal-oriented activity. There are five events (all seated): wheelchair race, bean bag toss, hat/scarf relay, soccer kick, and a ball toss. Most of the events include hand-eye or foot-eye coordination. The ball toss requires memory and quick hand reaction.
Our main goal is for residents to have fun and feel good about themselves when finished. We want them to leave practice feeling they have achieved a goal – maybe they got more bean bags in the box, or their ball toss time was quicker. One thing we always stress at practice is to have fun and laugh! We share many laughs, especially during the hat/scarf relay when the participants have to quickly put the items on/off while being timed in a relay.
The day of the event is a very hectic one for all involved. The event requires numerous staff and the cooperation of many departments to ensure all goes smoothly. Once we are on location, the festivities start with the National Anthem, Pledge of Allegiance, and a short prayer before the games begin.
All participants receive a medal for whatever place they come in for each event. A disc jockey plays music, and Philadelphia Mummers keep us entertained during lunch. At the end, the results are tallied and announced.
The look of success and accomplishment on the faces of our residents really tells the complete story. You could see the sense of pride in their eyes as they wear their medals back home on the bus. After a long day of competing and many weeks of practicing, it is all worth it for those residents – a true team effort for all of us!
View a 6 ABC news story highlighting Masonic Village and other competitors at the Senior Games: http://6abc.com/society/34th-annual-senior-games-in-plymouth-meeting/332745/.