Senior Olympics Turns Physical Therapy into Friendly Competition

St. Louis Hills Seniors Inspire with Dedication, Determination

In just over one month, athletes representing more than 200 nations will be participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This event is the culmination of decades of preparation for these these dedicated competitors, many of them training to become Olympic hopefuls since childhood.

In conjunction with the 2016 Rio Olympics, the residents at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills will be celebrating with their own version of the Olympic games to channel the determination, dedication and willpower of the Olympic competitors.

Ann James, activities manager for the assisted living and memory care community, works throughout the year to plan this event, which is a favorite among residents and care team members. The associates at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills go the extra mile to ensure that this weeklong celebration is fun and exciting for all.

“We have an opening ceremony on the first day of the competition,” says James. “The participating residents parade through the building waving American flags and passing our version of the torch, which is a battery-powered candle. We play the national anthem to officially kick things off and begin with the first event.”

Training Doubles as Therapy for Residents at All Fitness Levels

The residents begin preparing for the competition with “spring training,” which is led by physical therapists from Legacy Healthcare Services. Legacy’s therapists work year-round with residents at the community to provide physical therapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy services as a part of Provision Living’s overall commitment to wellness.

“The focus is to encourage each person to do his or her personal best,” explains James when discussing the training process that prepares residents to participate in the Senior Olympics at St. Louis Hills. “We have incorporated each of our Olympic events into our general therapy and fitness programs. This ensures that our residents are getting the physical therapy that they need, and they enjoy it because it’s fun. They check in with one another to see how each person is progressing, and they’re pretty competitive about it but they’re also very supportive.”

There are a variety of events in which residents compete, including batting practice. “The residents are huge St. Louis Cardinals fans so we added batting practice as one of our event categories. We use a foam bat and ball and measure the distance of each resident’s hit to determine the winner. This event is also a great way to build hand-eye coordination and improve focus, and because they practice for months before the Olympics occur, we really do see a lot of progress.”

Families Encouraged to Attend, Cheer On Residents

Gold, silver and bronze medals are awarded for each event category and every resident is presented with a certificate of participation. “We really use this annual event as a way to encourage seniors to think about their progress and growth in an incremental way,” says James. “Every day is an opportunity to increase strength, flexibility, mobility and balance. That’s how athletes train and that’s the real key to improvement.”

The St. Louis Hills Senior Olympics happens every August, and James encourages friends and family members to attend and support their loved ones. “This is an opportunity for our residents to really show what they’re made of and how hard they’ve worked and prepared. One of the favorite parts of my job is to see all of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who come out to support their family members. The young ones especially love seeing the residents participating and being active.”

For more information about the St. Louis Hills Senior Olympics or the comprehensive wellness program available at Provision Living at St. Louis Hills, please contact Ann James, activities manager: ajames@provisionliving.com or (314) 647-6600.

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