The Entertaining Elderly

Sometimes, the elderly can be quite an entertaining bunch. That certainly was the case recently in Turkey! A group of five male seniors got together and slid down a hill in Erzurum Province.

Using plastic bowls (that are usually just used for clothes-washing), five white-haired seniors raced down a snowy hill in Bas Cakmaklar, a village in eastern Turkey. They were assisted by friends who tied ropes around two of the men’s feet just to get them going. The other three held on and waited for the action. Very soon, they were tipping over into the snow, giggling like kids and ready to go all over again.

The idea all began when one afternoon, they were watching TV and saw a group of women washbowl snow race at the Palandoken ski resort, nearby. They decided to follow suit, despite the fact that many of them actually are only mobile due to their walking sticks! One of them, Cafer Sonmez, a grandfather explained simply: “If a load of women can slide in washbowls at Palandoken, why can’t we do the same in our village?”

Following the event Sonmez reported that they had a great time feeling like kids again and can’t wait to do it again: “We say to the ladies – let us see what you’ve got. Next year let’s meet in Palandoken and race against each other!”

Engaging in child-like activities – or those such as the washbowl snow racing as discussed above that bring about childlike responses – can be incredibly beneficial to the elderly. Indeed, according to Gay Hanna, executive director of the National Center for Creative Aging, “being creative is good for our health in many ways.” It can boost memory, alleviate depression, reduce stress, etc. Plus, it was found by a combined study undertaken by the National Institute of Aging and the Journal of the American Medical Association that “the main difference between a relatively healthy 90 year old and person who is bed-ridden at 70 (not taking into consideration health and medical issues) is lifestyle.”

So c’mon guys, get those washbowls out and start snowracing!