Seniors get active with Nintendo Wii sports games and more
A new Nintendo Wii sports game package is helping Morgan County Senior Life Services seniors get more active.
The Nintendo Wii game system was donated by the Forum for Arts, Science and Technology (FAST) and is located at their Berkeley Springs senior center. They've had the Nintendo Wii game system for about a month.
The game package includes virtual bowling, golf, boxing, tennis and baseball, said outreach coordinator Patrick McBee. In traditional game systems, a person sits in front of a TV with their hands on the remote, said McBee.
The Nintendo Wii is more interactive and involves using physical movements along with pressing buttons on the remote, he said. Players stand and go through the motions of the game, said McBee. The games can be played with one to four players.
When playing the Nintendo Wii bowling game, seniors swing their arms forward and aim the remote as their bowling ball. A large TV screen shows simulated bowling lanes where players can watch their virtual bowling ball travel and score.
The Nintendo Wii system can track your progress and measure your endurance and is also used for training, said McBee. The seniors cheer their ball on and get excited when they bowl well. Bowling is a favorite activity, said activities director Elizabeth Collins.
"Everyone can get immediate feedback and feel good," she said.
Collins feels the Nintendo Wii game system is helping to encourage the seniors to move and that's very important. Bowling with the Nintendo system could lead them to try real bowling at the Bowlerama or bowling with the duckpin set they bring out at the center, she said.
Seniors Margaret Michael, Louise Vincent and Gil Beck were playing the Nintendo Wii bowling last Wednesday. Both Michael and Vincent enjoy bowling and go to the Bowlerama on Mondays with the seniors.
"I love it. I'm getting used to it. They got it in here for all of us to play," said Michael of the Nintendo Wii bowling.
Vincent conceded the first game was just practice.
"You want to be perfect the first time," said Vincent of the virtual bowling.
McBee demonstrated the Nintendo golf and boxing. The golf game involved swinging as if you were teeing off. The onscreen landscape had virtual fairways and putting greens where players directed their aim. Boxing required punching with the remote. Swings corresponded to hits on a virtual opponent.
Other center activities
Seniors have other activities they enjoy at the center. On Tuesdays and Fridays, they have bingo from 10 to 11:30 a.m. with Jim Arbogast, said Collins. Arbogast also does a bridge session every Wednesday at 2 p.m.
Marti Sikes leads isometric exercises for seniors on Mondays and Wednesdays from 8:45 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. Bill Makison has current events Mondays at 9:30 a.m.
A Thursday morning voluntary Bible study group begins at 9 a.m. Sandy Cooper does seated exercises from 11 a.m. to 12 noon on Thursdays.
On Monday mornings, there's bowling at the Bowlerama at 10 am. Other seniors gather for canasta on Mondays at 10 a.m., said Collins. Brown Bag Bingo starts at 1 p.m. Seniors bring a prize in their bag.
Instructor Sally Bailey holds a Fibers and Needles craft class from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on the second and fourth Thursday of the month.
The senior center also offers speakers on topics such as elder fraud. They have live entertainment before their First Friday covered dish luncheons. Performers have included fiddler Robbie Mann, the Union Chapel Choir and the Morgan Parish Choir. First Friday lunch starts at 12 noon and the music starts at 11:30 a.m.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are project days, said Collins. They play games like dominoes and do puzzles and crafts. The center also takes seniors shopping to the Food Lion on Thursday afternoons and has a big shopping trip to an area Wal Mart once a month with lunch.
Last year their first Spring Tea Party was the biggest hit, said Collins. They served many different teas with refreshments. Seniors brought in their favorite teapot and shared stories about it, she said. Spouses also attended.
Beverly Locke was making knitted squares with seniors for the Warm-up America project. Quilts would be sewn from the squares and donated to charities, said Collins.
Last Thursday morning some of the seniors made ceramic bowls with Veronica Wilson of Frog Valley Artisans. Sale of the bowls will benefit the Boys and Girls Club, the Starting Points Soup Kitchen and the Shenandoah Women's Center, said Collins.
A man who was playing bingo at the center brought in an article that said Wilson was looking for volunteers of any age to make bowls. Wilson is coming back once a month to make bowls, said Collins.
People will tell you what they want to do. You just have to hear them, said Collins of her job.