Some elderly residents in care homes experience loneliness, boredom, and isolation, and the novel coronavirus pandemic has only heightened these feelings.
Many seniors have been stuck indoors for months, but thanks to an innovative program, more and more of them are pedaling their way to victory — and happiness — without leaving the safety of their homes!
The Norwegian startup Motitech prides itself on turning “the elderly and people with dementia into dedicated athletes” by bringing special exercise bikes into care homes.
These machines are connected to screens that play more than 2,000 videos from countries around the world. From childhood homes to favorite vacation spots, users can virtually cycle wherever they want!
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According to Motitech founder Jon Ingar Kjenes, residents who use the bikes sleep and eat better and experience less stress and confusion! What’s more, they improve their mobility. While some seniors can’t walk, they can pedal, which strengthens muscles that would otherwise fade away.
“We’d been failing to get our residents to exercise in our gym for years,” said David Cochrane, the CEO of Australia’s Harbison care home. “These bikes, in contrast, are busy all the time, but there’s not a single resident who comes back to do it again because it’s exercise. They come because the screens take them away from their day-to-day setting. It makes the experience social and it triggers memories.”
Back in 2017, Motitech kicked off Road Worlds for Seniors, a cycling competition for older folks around the globe. For three years, seniors who live thousands of miles apart have had a blast competing against each other for the gold!
Their caretakers have just as much fun cheering them on!
“I love sitting with the residents when they’re on the bikes,” said Georgina Cliff, a fitness instructor at the Belong care home in England. “Residents with dementia truly believe they’ve had an outing. It unlocks a little bit of their brain, and the memories it triggers help staff to get to know residents as interesting, individual people. That makes our job more personal and rewarding.”
These bikes are clearly improving residents’ quality of life by leaps and bounds! They’ve already made their way to homes across the U.K., Australia, Canada, Malaysia, and Hong Kong. Here’s hoping they reach the U.S. next!
What a fun way to help people become happier and healthier in their golden years! We’ll be cheering for everyone competing in Road Worlds for Seniors!
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