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On you marks! Senior Games celebrates older people keeping active and the staff supporting them

Residents from local care homes and assisted living schemes took part in a series of fun activities and friendly competition as part of a special event encouraging older people to stay active.

Published 29 June 2023
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Residents from local care homes and assisted living schemes took part in a series of fun activities and friendly competition as part of a special event encouraging older people to stay active.

The Senior Games, which took place at Abbeyfield School in Chippenham, is a partnership project between Wiltshire Council and Wiltshire and Swindon Sport (WASP) which works closely with residents from local care homes and assisted living. The event aims to encourage as many people as possible, no matter their health or abilities, to keep active. The games were a culmination of a 12-week programme called Love to Move, an age and dementia friendly seated gymnastics programme from the British Gymnastics Foundation.

Residents and care staff alike took part in a host of activities - ranging from foam javelin throwing to golf putting. Each care home residence competed in teams and there was an award ceremony at the conclusion of the event to celebrate everyone's efforts. A number of pupils from Abbeyfield School were also on hand to support the event, impressing everyone with their politeness and professionalism. Residents and staff from Wiltshire Heights, Meadow Court and Cepen Lodge attended the event.

Cllr Ian Blair-Pilling, Cabinet Member for Public Health, was on hand to present people with the awards. He said: This really was a special event to be a part of and that was demonstrated by the amount of laughter and smiling faces I saw all afternoon. We want our older population to maintain their independence and events like this help people to build confidence, feel better and more able to be out and about doing more. This event shows that older people want to stay active and have fun, as it does wonders for the body and mind.

A big thanks must go to Abbeyfield School and their pupils who provided fantastic support on the day. I also pay tribute to all the care staff for everything they do as this event was also about celebrating the absolutely crucial role they play in people's lives - it's something we don't ever take for granted.

Dominique Oughton, Health & Wellbeing Manager, WASP, said: Wow, what a great afternoon. It was absolutely fantastic to see all the residents away from their usual environment taking part in everything on offer and having fun! It was great to hear all the laughter, cheering and competitiveness amongst both the care home staff and the residents. We are so pleased with the success of both the 12-week programme and the festival in bringing everyone together to take part in Love To Move and a range of different activities.

A big thank you to Abbeyfield School for hosting the event and to the amazing students who supported delivery of the activities and who really got involved with engaging with the residents. We look forward to expanding the Senior Games project in many more care homes across the county.

Denise Heydon-Brown, Lead Leisure and Wellness Coordinator, Wiltshire Heights Care Home, said:  It was a brilliant afternoon and I think the young adults did themselves proud also. A massive thank you to them too.

Having the four sporting activity stations was an excellent idea and we thought 15 minutes per station was ideal. Also having the sporting activities that the residents were familiar with from the 12 week course helped with their confidence and willingness to give everything a go. 

All of us from Wiltshire Heights had an excellent time. We were made to feel very welcome by the school, and seeing familiar faces helped everyone feel safe in an unfamiliar environment.

We will definitely keep on moving as we always do every morning!

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