Playgrounds For Older Adults Increase Physical Activity and Decrease Loneliness

Older people sometimes feel lonely when they realize that everything has changed for them. Sometimes they have nothing to do because their children and grandchildren are having fun at the places which are made for youngsters. Also, it’s not quite easy to have fun with a fixed salary, which is not often high for senior citizens in most of the countries.

So they let themselves sit at home while others enjoy being outside. Seniors need to be appreciated enough, we should give them a chance to socialize and have fun in the way they would like to. China in 1995 has already thought about that and created playgrounds for older citizens.
Playgrounds are mostly connected to kids. They can play in the sand, run and slide down the slides. Of course, everything is different for older citizens’ playgrounds.

They are equipped with stationary bikes, treadmills, sit-up machines, and cross-trainers.
Some playgrounds have hand-eye dexterity games, walking paths with ramps, or side-by-side striders, also sometimes there are included games like horseshoes, bocce, and ping pong.

This is a great way to keep senior citizens active. This kind of exercises helps them to stay flexible and to make their muscles stronger. Also, it’ s fact that seniors tend to fall quite often. These kinds of equipment help them with their balance and coordination so they can avoid falling down easily. This kind of playgrounds are designed to hold up every kind of weather, so senior citizens should not be worried about getting wet from the rain or getting burned by the sun rays. But playgrounds for senior citizens are not good only for physical strength but also for their socialization skills. They can make new friends who are their own age and they can be great “gym partners. ” Although their gym membership means spending time on free playgrounds.

This is one more benefit of the playgrounds for senior citizens: they don’t have to spend much money for their physical strength, they don’t have to worry about getting their money’ s worth, they are free to visit the playground when they want and spend as much time as they would like, they are breathing outdoor oxygen and not indoor stuffy air, they control which equipment they use and they are in full control of how much they exercise. Most of the equipment can be used by more than one person, so seniors can socialize while doing their exercises.  teamwork can be good for their loneliness. With the help of senior citizen playgrounds, seniors will not feel isolated from society. They can meet someone who is going through the same struggles every day and they can share their problems easily.

Senior citizen playgrounds originate from china. In 1995 China adopted a new law, which then became a fitness program for the whole nation. After the adoption of the law, many parks in China were equipped with technologies that were comfortable for the elderly. Then the tourists started complimenting this equipment and they started spreading information around the world, saying that these playgrounds increased the well-being of senior citizens. People from different countries started incorporating this fitness program into their communities. In 2003 Finland designed a special playground for older people as an experiment and they saw that these fitness programs only had benefits for the citizens. This experiment was held by a group of researchers from the University of Lapland.

Their subjects were a group of 40 seniors who were from 65 to 81 years old. They were using an example playground for three months regularly and they showed progress in their balance, speed, and coordination. They also felt better as they enjoyed the social aspect of the senior citizen playground, they said they had fun meeting new people. Over the years senior citizens playgrounds were installed in different countries, for example, Japan, Germany, Canada, England and then in the United States.
However, it’ s fact that Spain has the most senior citizen playgrounds as in 2050 40% of the population will be 65 or older. Barcelona alone has more than 300 playground
installations for seniors.

Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging recently visited Beijing.
She filmed and photographed a number of installations and she was most excited about senior citizens playgrounds. She reports “They’re all over the place in China and
Japan, they have everything from fitness-style equipment, such as a fly or lat pull-down,
to parallel bars. The social aspect was one of the biggest things; on one side you’d find young people on children ‘ s playground equipment, and on the other side, older people on fitness equipment and playing table tennis. It really meshed the generations. ”

Although, sometimes it’s not easy for seniors to exercise next to young people. Sometimes they are embarrassed and try to avoid this kind of situation. This problem is shown in the research which was made by researchers from Wiesbaden Polytechnic, western Germany. They questioned 180 seniors and observed six playgrounds in the region. One-third of the survey respondents said they liked to exercise and half said they could imagine occasionally using the playgrounds, but not with children present. After
these research senior citizen playgrounds were installed in more private places, further
from young people’ s playgrounds.

Should seniors be embarrassed about their age? If us, young people were more soft and respectful to them then they would be happy to exercise with us. But maybe they just want quiet, private places, where they are going to be surrounded by people who really can understand their loneliness and problems. After all, seniors need places to hang out and meet new people. New relationships and exercising are keys to a longer , healthier and happier future.