Brandon Wilde residents sporting blue shirts and sneakers participated in wellness activities Wednesday, May 29, in celebration of National Senior Health and Fitness Day.
With a theme of “Get Up and Move!” the seniors started the day with a Couch-to-5K road race at 8 a.m.
Staff members and residents prepared for the race for months, said Avery Villines, wellness coordinator at the retirement community.
“We had a 12-week training program that we started off with only staff to get them off the couch up to running a 5K,” she said. “We had residents wanting to participate in the training, so it ended up being a bigger event than we originally thought.”
First-place winner among residents, Warren Cook, 80, finished the race at 39 minutes, 13 seconds. Cook, who used to run in Atlanta’s Peachtree Road Race, said wellness is more than a national holiday at Brandon Wilde.
“There are a lot of people who feel Brandon Wilde is nothing more than a nursing home,” he said. “We have much more than that, and our wellness program is very good. Today is just a reflection of the everyday opportunities here.”
Like Cook, Lyle Glas-cock, 73, who won in his age group, said the special National Senior Health Day activities, such as the 5K race and hula dancing lessons, reflect the wellness life at Brandon Wilde.
“The staff here works extremely hard to keep us fit,” he said. “They are extremely innovative. A lot of places will have the same thing every day. Every time we go to exercise class (here), it’s different, the water aerobics are different, everything is different.”
After stopping at each activity station, such as ping-pong, croquet, cornhole toss and a mind and memory game, each resident received a playing card. The top six residents with the best poker hand at the end of the event won a prize.
Villines and her staff also organized a “lunch and learn session” with Andrew Forgay, a pain management physician at University Hospital, who spoke to residents about back pain.
Although many of the events were physical, Villines said her staff promotes healthiness in all avenues of wellness.
“We want to always encourage spirit, mind and body,” she said. “We always want to keep our residents active, and if people can’t be physically active they can be spiritually, emotionally and intellectually active.”