Young and old compete for sporting glory
5 October 2019 at 12:00 pm
Canberra’s oldest citizens have been going for gold in the town’s annual sporting competition, walking away with more than a medal around their necks.
The sporting carnival, hosted by YMCA Canberra, saw around 130 aged care residents from 13 aged care homes come together for the day to compete in modified events.
Ranging in ages from 80 to 100, the competitors were helped through the events on the day by university and high school students.
While the students were there as part of their university and school courses, Adam Horner, YMCA executive manager of health, fitness, and active recreation, said by the end of the day it was about much more than just “having to be there”.
“We know that they walk in going, well this will tick off that box in my subject, but they walk out with new friendships and a new sense of value for the older generation,” Horner told Pro Bono News.
He said that while social isolation for older generations was well documented, it was also something that affected younger people.
“Some of the younger people are also feeling that same isolation, so an event like this brings them together and allows them to be part of their community, to share stories, to share experiences,” he said.
“The older adults are able to actually provide some of that knowledge to the younger generation, and the younger generation provides some of the enthusiasm and energy for the older generation.”
He said a sporting event was the perfect way to bring the two generations together, as well as get the older generation up and active for the day.
“We see how the entire nation is coming together for the NRL grand final this weekend. Sport is one of the things that actually allows us to transcend the generations,” he said.
“We also know that physical activity is really, really important for the quality of life in the elderly. It helps with confidence, motor skills, and the ability to avoid falls.”
A highlight of the day included a game of rob the nest which Horner said nearly descended into “complete and utter carnage”.
“We had four or more of the homes competing in the final round, and the person running it was standing in the middle, and he was scared,” he said.
Other activities included a wheelchair decoration competition and modified sports games.
The winning team of the day was IRT Kangara Waters, who took out the top prize for the second year running.