Life Care Center of the Willows is certainly no stranger to hosting events that help entertain and engage the residents who live there. This week was no exception with a daily agenda of fun and exciting games to engage residents and to celebrate the Olympics.
“We call this ‘The Willympics,’” said Activities Director Robyn Rutar. “This is our first time hosting this, and we are hoping to make it a recurring theme; each time the Olympics comes around, we hope to hold our own version.”
With events inspired by the official Olympics – and a few others thrown in, just for fun – the Willympics drew on the talents of the daily residents to create the friendly competition, with sports from golf to table to tennis and more.
“We even had a bingo tournament. It was really fun, and we made it more competitive by adding extra points to the board for winning teams,” said Rutar. Residents were broken up into three teams: Red Team, White Team and Blue Team. The overall winning team will receive a pizza party. Silver medalists will win their choice of ice cream and bronze winners will receive an extra bingo prize at the end of the month.
“This is a terrific way for our residents to feel relevant, to feel attached to the outside world, to feel as if they are still a part of it all,” said Rutar. “We took time every morning to talk about what was going on in Rio. They got to really almost live the experience, because they could feel as if they were playing, too.”
Ronnie Svitko was one of the standouts for the Willympics, though he may have had a competitive edge, since he had previously competed in the Special Olympics, where he took several medals.
“My dad took me to Indianapolis, where I swam – freestyle, backstroke and butterfly,” Svitko told Ideas In Motion Media.
Svitko enjoyed hearing about how the other countries were doing in the Olympics. “I liked hearing about Canada… Germany, too.”
When asked what he liked best about the Willympics, it was an easy choice for Ronnie.
“I liked the ping pong.”
Eleanor Bishop, another resident at the Willows, was all smiles as she held her medal and Certificate of Competition.
“I really liked the soccer. The whole thing was just a lot of fun for us,” Bishop said.
The Willympics wrapped up this Friday, with a closing ceremony, where medals and certificates of participation were awarded to each resident who took part in the games. Afterwards, they celebrated with fresh popcorn and even cotton candy for everyone.
“The nice thing about this was that the residents here, the ones who really aren’t usually as active normally, really came out to help with this. Overall, it was a tremendous event and a great way to get everyone here more involved,” said Rutar.
“Now, I’m just looking forward to the 2018 Winter Willympics.”
From the looks on the faces of the residents there, it was clear that they shared her sentiment.