Martha SparksSociety Editor
September 5, 2012
HENLAWSON — An afternoon of friendly competition and fun has been added to the social calendars of many local nursing home residents as West Virginia State University Geri Olympics On the Move travels to Henlawson Thursday, September 6. The games begin at 1:30 p.m. at Trinity Health Care of Logan, whose residents will take on the visiting team from Trinity Health Care of Mingo. Each team will dress in facility colors designed by the residents.
Competitions at the Logan event will include corn hole, basketball, bowling, marksmanship, candle blowing, clothes pin stacking and relay races. Students from the Logan High School Eagles Class will help with the activities and be on hand to cheer for the senior athletes.
The Geri Olympics program was initiated 25 years ago by Dr. Ted Muilenburg, WVSU associate professor of Health, Human Performance and Leisure Studies to promote wellness, active living and quality of life for nursing home residents, through competitive sports, team work and intergenerational programming. The athletes, along with their caregivers, train and practice for months in advance.
In the quarter century of its existence, Geri Olympics has served approximately 3,500 nursing home residents, with 5,000 volunteers as support staff. More than 40 nursing care facilities, assisted living centers and skilled nursing care units in rural hospitals have sponsored teams.
Muilenburg’s research indicates that the positive impacts of the program help to reduce the side effects of sedentary living including nonmedical issues such as loneliness, hopelessness and boredom.
Geri Olympics On the Move stages events in rural hospitals and nursing care facilities that may not be able to attend the yearly Geri Olympics event held each spring at the South Charleston Recreation Center.