Age no barrier

The annual Rest Home Games  are back again this year with competitive teams from around  the Western Bay of Plenty fired up, ready to participate and show that age is no barrier.

“The Rest Home Games is our event for the local rest homes to come along, play some games, meet other people and have a cup of tea at the end of it,” says Sports BOP recreation advisor Michelle Barns.

Held at the ASB Arena on May 16, teams from 15-16 rest homes will dress up in this year’s Commonwealth Games theme.

Great outfits are expected again, as last year’s teams got fully into the spirit of the games with costumes and attitudes to match.

“The cool aspect is we have run this event for years,” says Michelle. “However in 2018 we are giving it back to the community with Klara Luxford, a dedicated rest home employee taking over the reins. This is her first year doing most of it and we are supporting her.”

“Our rest home has taken part in these games for the last four years,” says Klara, who is the recreation coordinator at Radius Matua and president of the local diversional therapist support group. “It’s a chance to meet up with all the other rest homes. Each rest home sends a group of eight to 10 residents.

“They usually dress up and the games are run in a round-robin tournament style.”

Klara works as the lead activities person at Radius Matua. As a registered diversional therapist, she organises and coordinates meaningful activity programmes which give residents a choice of leisure activities.

These usually focus on helping maintain visual, motor and sensory skills, and encourage communication and socialisation.

The activities also boost memory, orientation and emotional well-being.

The modified games include balloon volleyball, bowls, cup stacking, boccia, ring toss, balloon badminton, ten pin bowling, and noodle hockey. Most of the games are undertaken sitting down.  

“These are the sports activities we do in our rest homes regularly,” says Klara, “but this event offers a chance to compete a little bit.

“Everybody is quite competitive – even the 90-year-olds!”

“This year when Sport BOP asked if our local diversional therapist support group could take over the organisation of it, it was a matter of getting in touch with all the other rest homes, and then following the programme set up by Sport BOP over the last few years.

“Our rest home is quite big with over 150 residents, but if anybody from other rest homes need help, I’m quite willing to help them too.”