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Activities help residents stay young at heart

Managing editor

What do an 8-year-old and a 92-year-old have in common? Would you believe the love of a video game?

It is true.

Residents of Legacy Park of Peabody and St. Luke Living Center of Marion have discovered you are never too old to play games.

The game is Wii Sports. The enjoyment level is through the roof.

Just ask Howard Hess who lives in assisted living at Legacy Park. It started with the facility purchasing the popular game. Local children come to the home to play with residents, which provides priceless interaction.

The game of choice is bowling.

“They beat me bad,” Howard said with a smile, recalling the last time he played a game with them.

Howard plays at least once a week. One night he “bowled” three games.

“My arm got tired,” he said.

The 61-year-old also enjoys latch hooking and leads exercising for other residents.

According to Roxanne Dallke, activities coordinator of Legacy Park, Howard still drives and often gives other residents rides to functions and to deliver recyclable pop cans.

At St. Luke Living Center, several residents gather in the north TV room to play or watch a lively game of bowling.

For 92-year-old Les Broadstreet, he seems to be a “natural,” knowing how to move his arm and releasing the ball just right to have a powerful hit on the pins.

This day, Florence Ehrlich and Pearl Baxter go from spectators to players, learning how to hold the controller and when to release the ball. Later Martin Hajek joins the group, taking a turn or two at the lanes.

According to CNA and activities coordinator Robin Kukuk, the facility purchased the game system about a month ago.

“It gives range of motion and keeps their minds sharp by giving them something new to learn,” she said.

The residents have an organized game at least once a week, sometimes on the weekend. Some play on their own.

This day, Les wins a game with a score of 134, which rivals any casual bowler.

Other games enjoyed by the residents are boxing, a shooting gallery, and Mario Kart. A Wii Fit recently was purchased but not yet tried.

Regardless of age or location, keeping older people active and social are keys to longevity and a quality of life that cannot be measured.

Last modified May 7, 2009

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