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Meadowlark Care Home, Forres residents win medals at Renaissance Care Olympics

By Garry McCartney

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Meadowlark Care Home medalists Bina McKenzie, Jean McIntosh, Sue Swanson, Nan Preston, Ian Macdonald and Peter Gordon.
Meadowlark Care Home medalists Bina McKenzie, Jean McIntosh, Sue Swanson, Nan Preston, Ian Macdonald and Peter Gordon.

A LOCAL care home now boasts an array of Olympic athletes.

Following weeks of gentle training, residents at Meadowlark on Mannachie Road joined residents across the country competing in the first ever Renaissance Care Olympics to improve their physical and mental wellness.

Meadowlark activities coordinator, Derra Kew, said: “The difference in our residents has been phenomenal. After a year where energy levels have been low, the Renaissance Care Olympics has given Meadowlark the boost we all needed.

“Throughout lockdown, we had to be creative when planning activities, and since we always encourage gentle exercise, this seemed like the perfect idea. I’m very proud of everyone’s efforts – bring on Paris 2024!”

Fifteen care homes battled for victory in five categories: pitch ’n’ putt; 400m walking; seated volleyball; boxing; and beanbag throwing.

Staff at Meadowlark went the extra distance for their Olympians, arranging for music, dancing and Asian cuisine at their opening and closing ceremonies, with celebrations rivalling those in Tokyo!

However, the activities were found to be so popular that the residents plan to continue walking, boxing and pitch ’n’ putt challenges even though the Olympics have finished.

Despite the age range of the Meadowlark Olympic team spanning from 70 to 98, the contest allowed for many firsts at the home.

Many of the female athletes had never tried boxing before, but it has since become one of the most popular activities.

For others, the activities offer an opportunity to reconnect with hobbies from their past, as with one resident who fondly reflected on her days spent with a walking group as she racked up the most 400m walking stints throughout July.

With the majority of residents joining in the fun and games, staff reported an extraordinary difference in the fitness and stamina of residents.

Among those who benefited were Peter Gordon and Ian Macdonald, both keen walkers with improved mobility following the challenge.

Peter (96) said: “I’ve always enjoyed walks with friends and family, but the past year has made it tougher to get out and about due to the pandemic.

“Throughout the Olympics I doubled my walking distance which means more to me than a medal – though that would be nice too.”

Ian (74) said: “The Olympics have been such fun for everyone, and the staff have been amazing at motivating us.

“I used to walk to the lounge and back, but now I’m able to walk round the garden, and even further afield.”

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