Meridian seniors catch Sochi fever

Olympics in the Treasure Valley? Not quite. But some seniors are going for gold.

adutton@idahostatesman.comFebruary 20, 2014 

It’s not often that two 99-year-olds battle for glory in a mock Olympics.

But more than a dozen seniors, septuagenarian and older, have gathered every day at 1 p.m. in the lobby of Grace Assisted Living in Meridian to compete in activities modeled after the winter games. The winners will receive their medals Friday.

The games are a way to “keep (residents) interested in current events, get them out socializing, a little bit of extra exercise and keep up their mobility,” said Keren Burchtorf, activities director for the center, at 1960 N. Lakes Place, Meridian. The center houses people who need extra help with daily tasks.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate cardio — brisk walking, for example — and muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week for healthy people 65 and older who have no disabilities.

The gloomy grays and drizzle of early February were not exactly conducive to outdoor activities for the seniors who live at Grace Assisted Living, Burchtorf said.

Burchtorf said about one-third of the building’s 58 residents have taken part each day.

For the opening ceremonies, residents passed around a faux torch of orange and yellow tissue paper. The sporting events were riffs on the real Sochi. Burchtorf fashioned a curling course out of tape, paper, a small net and Swiffer-esque broom handles. For another event, the residents tossed large plastic balls through Olympic rings.

Pat Sherle took third place in last week’s Olympic-ring toss. “It’s not as easy as it looks,” she said. “I’ve just decided to come and do it this week. It’s been a lot of fun.”

Sherle, who moved into the building 16 months ago after living in Spokane, said her joints feel “a little bit better” since she started competing.

“It’s good to mingle with each other like this, too, and cheer for each other,” said resident Cheryl Glass.

Audrey Dutton: 377-6448, Twitter: @IDS_Audrey

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