Senior summer games rattleball competitor Regina Merkl was among more than 70 participants in the Lower Mainland event hosted by the Langley Events Centre. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

VIDEO: Smoke forces seniors games indoors

Tongue-in-cheek competition pits teams from Lower Mainland care homes against each other

Normally, the toilet paper toss, seated horseshoes and other events of the senior games for care home residents take place outdoors in a Metro Vancouver park.

But this year, because of concerns about air quality during the current wildfire season, organizers moved the event indoors to donated space at the Langley Events Centre.

When the haze from the fires was especially thick, Metro Vancouver issued an advisory warning that infants, the elderly and those who have diabetes, and lung or heart disease should avoid the outdoors and postpone strenuous exercise (The advisory was lifted on the weekend).

Originally, eight teams were going to take part, but on game day, Tuesday, just five showed up.

“People dropped out because they thought it would be outdoors,” said Langley Lodge recreation coordinator Charlene Koop. The Langley care home hosted the event.

Those who attended competed in a variety of whimsical contests that included tossing a roll of toilet paper through a toilet seat target, throwing horseshoes from a seated position at floor targets and a new event called rattleball, which involved shaking an oversize hourglass made of plastic bottles to get the balls from the top to the bottom.

A one-day Olympics event for senior care homes throughout the Fraser Valley has been held every four years since 2004.

READ MORE: Langley team takes ‘Senior Olympics’ (2016)

READ MORE: Sibling rivalry at the Senior Olympic games

Usually, the event is timed to coincide with the actual Olympics, but the New Westminster team had so much fun at the 2016 Olympic Games for seniors in Langley’s Campbell Valley Park that they didn’t want to wait four years, Koop said.

While the events are deliberately silly, they have a serious purpose behind them, which is encouraging seniors to be physically active.

“It’s just lots of fun,” Koop said.

In all, 75 people, 50 seniors and 25 volunteers and staff, took part from Langley Lodge, Menno Home, Langley Gardens, Crescent Gardens and Westminster House.

There were gold, silver and bronze medals as well as awards for sportsmanship.

Overall, the Langley Lodge team, the hosts, took first place and gold, followed by Langley Gardens (silver) and Abbotsford’s Menno Place (bronze).



dan.ferguson@langleytimes.com

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