Playground fun for everyone
At a Manchester, United Kingdom park, seniors can use low impact exercise equipment built just for them. In Japan, with birthrates falling and the numbers of older citizens increasing, underused playgrounds are being renovated for seniors. The social aspect proved to be the primary draw at a Nürnburg, Germany senior park where lawn bowling and a giant chess set are as popular as the trampoline.
An outdoor setting designated just for older adults appeals to many and has multiple benefits beyond the physical. "Many older people aren't exercising enough," Madeline Elsdon said, explaining that physical activity with others their own age can help seniors struggling with loneliness and depression. Madeline is spokeswoman for the Knightsbridge Association, the group responsible for the Hyde Park Senior Playground in Westminster, England.
Although the U.S. has long had outdoor trails, where users can move from station to station, public playgrounds just for seniors in park settings are few and far between. Enter Michael Cohen, founder of Must Have Play, who hopes to change that. With an extensive background is building children's playgrounds, Cohen's vision is to marry the well-documented health benefits of fitness for the elderly with social engagement. Creating safe, attractive and peaceful gardens, with shelters, conversational nooks, and wide walking paths along with activity equipment designed for face-to-face usage, exercise then becomes a social activity that promotes wellness and confidence, and preventing isolation. Best of all, play translates to pure joy. And joy is ageless. ~Helen Rickman