The Olympic Games came to Cheltenham in a whirlwind of volleyball games, 100-metre dashes and javelin throws.
“Everyone had a blast, so we’re going to do it again,” said Sabrina Ruffolo, recreation aid at Cheltenham Care Community in Toronto. “The residents are already planning the winter Olympics.”
Cheltenham’s three floors went head-to-head in four Olympic events. The 1st floor’s Team Pleasantville, 2nd floor’s Team Cedar Trail and 3rd floor’s Team Rose Garden competed for a pizza party and ultimate bragging rights.
About 60 residents participated in the events. Thanks to the size of the games, residents got a chance to talk to people they wouldn’t normally see and get to know each other better.
“The Olympics were actually quite fun because the residents got into it and got competitive with one another on the floors,” Sabrina said. “While the events were happening there was a lot of chit-chat between the floors. They also encouraged each other, and of course encouraged their own floors.”
Cheltenham considers itself to be a sport-loving home, with many residents enjoying active games and activities, according to Sabrina.
“One generally wouldn’t think of spear throwing when considering a preferred activity for senior citizens, but at the Cheltenham Olympics, Javelin was a favorite event.”
The Olympic Games were all modified for fairness and safety. Volleyball was played while seated and with a lowered net to accommodate people in wheelchairs, the 100-meter trivia dash could be played while sitting or standing, and the javelin throw saw residents hurling pool
noodles through a set of hula-hoop Olympic rings.
Many of the games, including darts and trivia, are often played weekly. But none of them have ever been played competitively and some, such as volleyball, are completely new to the home.
“The internet was a huge help,” Sabrina said when asked how she came up with the games. “I had to modify a lot of things.”
“I think I would add more events next time, because I know it can be done,” she said. “We started off with four, but we can add like seven or eight next time.”
The games included opening and closing ceremonies, as well as medals for the athletes in each event.
“At the closing ceremonies, Team Rose Garden was awarded the first place trophy and gold medals were given to the athletes. Team Cedar Trail was awarded the second place trophy and Team Pleasantville was awarded the third place trophy,” Sabrina said. “Each athlete who participated in any of the events was awarded a certificate of achievement, recognizing their spirit, sportsmanship and participation throughout the month.”