Senior Playground

by Rhoda Schularick | Apr 09, 2010
1 read | 1 Comment

Summary:

My idea helps the older adults in our community remember how much fun exercise can be. Everyone remembers how much fun it was to head out to recess as a little kid. Whether it was kickball on an open field, spinning on a tire swing, or racing up and down slides, everyone was active. To kids, this is just having fun, but as adults, we recognize that this is also exercise – the best kind, since you don’t even realize you’re breaking a sweat.

The good times of recess unfortunately come to an end, we grow up, and for many Americans physical activity takes a back seat to everything else we fill our lives with. This decreased activity often leads to problems with Obesity, and all the health issues that go along with it – diabetes, heart trouble, joint paint, etc. Many options exist to combat obesity; however older adults face unique challenges to regain a healthy lifestyle. Many are intimidated by the younger crowds at fitness clubs, lack the finances to buy memberships or exercise equipment, or are simply lonely / isolated and have no supportive network to help get an active lifestyle started.

My idea to fight obesity is to bring older adults back to the playground. I propose we create a “Senior Playground” area in Oberlin Park, near my community in Minnetonka, Minnesota. There are several companies that make “playground” equipment specifically for adults, and these could be installed in an area adjacent to a “children’s” area to create Minnesota’s first Intergenerational Playground. Besides providing a free resource to help adults get active, the playground would also facilitate the creation of Community. Community is a key component in any successful exercise program, as well as being a great way to combat the depression and isolation that affect so many older Americans. Overall then, the creation of a Senior Playground would be a great way to both build Community and fight Obesity in Minnesota.

First Name

Rhoda

Last Name

Schularick

About You

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First Name

Rhoda

Last Name

Schularick

Country

United States, MN, Hennepin County

City

Minnetonka

Country

United States, MN, Hennepin County

City

Minnetonka

About You

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About Your Organization

Organization Name

Oak Knoll Lutheran Church

Organization Website

oklutheran

Organization Phone

952-546-5433

Organization Address

600 Hopkins Crossroad, Minnetonka, MN 55305

Your idea

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Name your idea

Senior Playground

Describe your idea

My idea helps the older adults in our community remember how much fun exercise can be. Everyone remembers how much fun it was to head out to recess as a little kid. Whether it was kickball on an open field, spinning on a tire swing, or racing up and down slides, everyone was active. To kids, this is just having fun, but as adults, we recognize that this is also exercise – the best kind, since you don’t even realize you’re breaking a sweat.
The good times of recess unfortunately come to an end, we grow up, and for many Americans physical activity takes a back seat to everything else we fill our lives with. This decreased activity often leads to problems with Obesity, and all the health issues that go along with it – diabetes, heart trouble, joint paint, etc. Many options exist to combat obesity; however older adults face unique challenges to regain a healthy lifestyle. Many are intimidated by the younger crowds at fitness clubs, lack the finances to buy memberships or exercise equipment, or are simply lonely / isolated and have no supportive network to help get an active lifestyle started.
My idea to fight obesity is to bring older adults back to the playground. I propose we create a “Senior Playground” area in Oberlin Park, near my community in Minnetonka, Minnesota. There are several companies that make “playground” equipment specifically for adults, and these could be installed in an area adjacent to a “children’s” area to create Minnesota’s first Intergenerational Playground. Besides providing a free resource to help adults get active, the playground would also facilitate the creation of Community. Community is a key component in any successful exercise program, as well as being a great way to combat the depression and isolation that affect so many older Americans. Overall then, the creation of a Senior Playground would be a great way to both build Community and fight Obesity in Minnesota.

How do you define your "community"?

My community is a faith community based out of Oak Knoll Lutheran Church in Minnetonka, Minnesota. Working as a Parish Nurse for the church and surrounding neighborhoods, I interact with people of all ages - but the area does have a high population of seniors, with many suffering from depression, loneliness, and the health issues related to obesity. Many of the older adults I work with live very close to the church – which is also right next door to Oberlin Park. I want to help strengthen the community by helping people of different ages get together, take advantage of the free resources nearby to where they live, and get active.

Tell us how you think the issue of obesity is affecting your community

Obesity affects many people in my community, men and women, both young and old. Inactive youth are forming habits that lead to poor health and obesity in later years, while the older generation is suffering from the effects of poor health choices. Diseases and conditions associated with being overweight (diabetes, heart disease, osteoarthritis, social isolation) cause devastating effects on the lives of my friends and neighbors, making me want to take action.

Why should your idea be selected?

My idea for a Senior Playground should be selected because the park will keep people active, build community, and improve the overall well-being of the people of Minnetonka. Although this would be the first of its kind in America, Senior Playgrounds have been a huge success in several European communities - and so this strategy already has proven results! The nostalgia and simple fun of playground equipment facilitates older and younger people to put aside the worries of the day and let loose with active fun play. I also believe the selection of Oberlin Park would further the success of the project because of its uniquely ideal qualities. The park is a short walk from several senior housing areas, so driving would not be an issue for older adults. There would be no financial exclusion, as the park is free and open to the public. Also, Oberlin Park is already a well established recreational space, and so could easily accommodate and encourage the use of the new play areas. The creation of a Senior Playground at Oberlin Park would be an ideal way to bring people in my community together to fight obesity.

Normandy Jackson said: I think this can mean great to children and a playground for them to pay with and spend time with. - Adam LaFavre about this Competition Entry. - 1804 days ago read more >

Rhoda Schularick updated this Competition Entry. - 3206 days ago

Rhoda Schularick submitted this idea. - 3216 days ago