Residents of an Aksaray nursing home start a new era in their lives with training and competitions in the bowling sports bocce
Residents at Abdulkadir Üçyıldız Nursing Home in the province of Aksaray between the ages of 70 and 85 are staying both mentally and physically fit by playing sport under the supervision of bocce trainers.
Elderly people who found the sport two years ago during activities initiated by the Ministry of Family and Social Policies continue their exercises with the teams they formed. The basement floor of the nursing home has been turned into a bocce field where the residents can spend their free time.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), bocce trainer Levent Savaş noted that there are residents who have withdrawn from social life and are in need of care. He stated that they observe various changes in the lives of residents after they discover bocce, mainly a new zest for life once they realize they can stand on their own two feet. Due to age and physical deficiencies, performance sports cannot be played at nursing homes.
"As bocce also encourages people to think and is a sport that can be performed easily without causing any health problems, I believe it is very beneficial for the residents," Savaş added. Pointing out that the only physical activity of the residents previously was daily walking, he noted that now, as they recognize they can manage something through sport, their motivation increases. As they set up teams, they also socialize and their communication improves.
"We've turned the basement floor of the nursing home into a training ground and we exercise there. After we started our exercises, the interest of other residents also increased and sometimes even those who do not come to watch want to compete themselves, at competitions," Savaş said. He underlined that this proves to the residents that there are other activities they can perform in life, and that they want to show others they can achieve something.
Burhan Doğan, 74, who has been in the nursing home for the past four years, confirmed that this sports club has added variety to his life. "Our trainer came and explained it all. I think it is beneficial both for the body and the mind. You think, you do math, you have to calculate how to approach a ball, whether or not you will be able to catch it, et cetera. Plus, as you you are constantly bending and straightening back up, you use your body," said Doğan.
Team captain Muzaffer Ceren said he feels lucky to be able to play sport despite his advancing age and that other nursing homes he had stayed at did not offer such activities, which are also good for socializing among the residents. "Our trainer introduced us to sports here. We are people who have become old. When people our age are idle, they may feel more alone and depressed and end up with illnesses like Alzheimer's. But now we are more vigorous, we feel younger and more confident," notes Ceren.
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