Ingenuity keeps seniors active at local assisted living facility

By Doug Halberstadt
Sports Columnist

As we age, it is no doubt more difficult to participate in many of the sports we once loved. Recently, I witnessed a rather inventive way to keep seniors actively involved in two sports that I wouldn’t normally expect to see them playing while sitting in wheelchairs or using walkers.

Kudos to the recreational staff at the Bickford House, an assisted living facility on Mulford Road here in town. They have come up with adaptive ways to keep their residents active and able to participate in a couple of sports that are usually associated with younger players.

They set up an indoor volleyball court where the residents could remain seated and still play the game. The net was lowered to a level that made it easier for each person to hit the “ball” back and forth. The ball wasn’t a ball at all. It was replaced by a balloon. It worked perfectly. It was light enough for everyone to volley and not suffer any injuries. Everyone I saw playing seemed to be having a great time. There was plenty of laughter and smiles.

The next sport for the seniors was bocce ball. Their adaptive court was laid out on some smooth carpeting in the living room. The target ball was a traditional golf ball that was rolled out in front of the residents. Each player was given a different colored ball to roll gently toward the golf ball. This was simple enough in concept, and seemed to work perfectly.

It just goes to show that even though there’s no way to defy the natural decline that accompanies the aging process, with a little ingenuity, there are still ways to remain active.

I applaud both the staff and the residents for enjoying a nice evening of indoor volleyball and bocce. I’m looking forward to seeing what they will come up with next.

Doug Halberstadt can be reached via e-mail at

From the July 9-15, 2014, issue

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