Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Playtime for Grandma

At first glance there would appear to be nothing odd about the squeals of laughter coming from this brand-spanking new playground in Manchester.
But on closer inspection, the average age of the people swinging and playing on the brightly-colored pieces of equipment would appear to be rather on the high side.
That is because this is the UK's first outdoor playground for the over-60s.

60 going on six: Vivien Backhouse and Peggy Yuill go for a swing in the Older People's Play Area in Dam Head
In a bid to help keep its aging population healthy, limber and happy, a residents' association in northern Manchester, with help from a local housing firm, have built a playground designed to keep its more elderly members flexible.
It cost £15,000 to build and it was officially opened yesterday in Dam Head Park, Blackley, after being tested by locals aged over 70.
Six pieces of specially designed equipment provide gentle exercise for different parts of the body such as hips, legs and torso.
Local resident Joan Fitzgerald stretches her legs in the playground
Joan FitzGerald, 76, chair of the local residents association, told the Manchester Evening News: "When we first went in all the people in there were over 70 and I have never heard so much laughing before.
"Everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves, which is important because a good laugh makes the day.
"I believe you are never too old to play and this also keeps you active.
"The exercises are very gentle. There is one machine that makes you feel like you are doing the jive, but if you stay on it too long you end up walking home looking like a drunken idiot.
"The playground provides great activity for older people and people need to be more active."
The association got the idea after having heard about a similar scheme in Germany.
Gordon Lishman, director general of Age Concern, said: "A well-designed fitness park could be a great way to encourage older people to exercise and socialize.
"Exercising a few times a week can make a big difference to someone's health and doesn't have to be strenuous. Equally, socializing with others can help to alleviate feelings of loneliness and depression.
"Many older people aren't exercising enough and we are really keen for local authorities to offer a range of accessible and affordable facilities that promote physical activity in later life."

1 comment:

The Man said...

You are never to old to enjoy life.