Playgrounds for Older Adults Boost Activity and Decrease Loneliness

We take kids to playgrounds to boost their motor skills and coordination. Children need enough sun and fresh air. They meet a lot of new friends at the playground. So, why won’t you take seniors to a playground?

Of course, don’t expect to see swings or crawl tunnels in senior parks. They should definitely get their space packed with low-impact equipment to improve their muscle strength, balance, flexibility and motor coordination.

You can see exercise bikes, cross-trainers, flex runners, flex wheels, sit-up benches, and low-speed treadmills.

These parks aren’t designed to help elderly build strong muscles. They are just a place to have fun at. In these parks, elderly can meet other people and socialize.

Joana Hudges, spokeswoman for The Royal Parks, a London-based park management agency says these playgrounds have some physical health aspects. These places will help nurture social and mental health.

Senior parks in the world

The number of playgrounds for seniors is on the rise. There are many similar places in Asia and Europe. In 1995, Chinese set up the first park for seniors.

Japan accepted the idea, and similar places appeared in several European countries. Authorities in Spain love the idea. There are 300 senior parks in Barcelona. The Spanish government funds these parks, because they approve the benefits they bring.

According to a recent analysis, about 40-45 percent of the Spanish population will turn 65 by 2050. It’s really important that these people stay mentally alert and physically fit.

In the US, there are parks for seniors only, but our country has taken a different approach. Authorities are focused towards building multi-generational parks, fit for people of every age group.

KaBOOM! is a US non-profit organization that builds playgrounds for children. It approves the idea of multigenerational parks, and they have built 53 parks in the country. In one of their projects in Cleveland, the seniors founded a fitness club to improve interaction in the new park while children are having fun.

Important for sick seniors

Outdoor activities lower the number of emergencies and hospitalization rates.

In 2014, the City of La Marque, Galveston County, Texas, invested over $36,000 to equip the Carbide Park for seniors. They provided fitness steps, fitness ramps, cobweb floors, zig-zag pipe, throttle bar, stretching boards, and seated bar grabs that will help seniors maintain mobility, flexibility, and balance.

Stephen Holmes, a commissioner in the country hopes to see more seniors on their playgrounds.



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