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Golden Games encourages physical and mental activity among older people

PUBLISHED: 19:30 20 May 2019

Participants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEE

Participants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEE

Simon Lee Photography

Older people were able to experience a reminiscence session and try a range of gentle sporting activities at a Golden Games event.

Participants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEEParticipants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEE

The event - the first of three this week- took place at Hadleigh Pool and Leisure as part of the Move Suffolk Week campaign.

Organised by award winning charity, the Sporting Memories Network, the events aim to raise awareness of the work the organisation is doing to address loneliness and isolation and raise physical activity levels among older people, especially those living with memory loss and dementia.

Participants experienced a sporting reminiscence session and tried activities such as New Age Kurling, table tennis, table cricket and bowls. They also had the opportunity for an NHS health check.

Richard Hunt, Suffolk project co-ordinator for the Sporting Memories Network, said "Sporting Memories gives people the opportunity to look back and reminisce about sport through the decades.

Participants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEEParticipants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEE

"These activities can help older people to recall their favourite sporting memories and also tell their own stories. By tapping into people's love of sport, through using images of their favourite stars, events and venues, conversations are started, happy and treasured memories flood back and the ensuing activities help to promote or maintain mental and physical well-being."

"The Golden Games are designed to promote the concept of partnership working for the promotion of active ageing. By offering a range of sports or adapted physical activity opportunities to older people, a more active lifestyle can be promoted and the process of lifestyle change through better social connection that the activity provides can begin."

James Reeder, cabinet member for health at Suffolk County Council, said "Many of us have plenty to look forward to in later life and most people in later life do report feeling connected to their communities, families and friends. However, we do know that in England 51% of all people over 75 live alone and 1 million older people say the television is their main form of company. This has implications for their long-term health and wellbeing and, research shows, carries a comparable risk for early death as smoking 15 cigarettes a day."

"Programmes such as Sporting Memories - which bring people together to engage older people in social and physical activities triggered by memories of watching or playing sport - are to be welcomed and are fully supported by Suffolk County Council".

Participants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEEParticipants at the Hadleigh Golden Games were able to try their hand at a range of activities Picture: SIMON LEE

The remaining Golden Games in Move Suffolk Week are planned for Wednesday (22nd May) at Whitton Sports Centre in Ipswich and Friday (24th May) at Water Lane Leisure Centre in Lowestoft. The events are free of charge with further details available at https://www.movesuffolkweek.com/whats-on-this-week/golden-games/.

The Sporting Memories Network also run weekly Sporting Memories Clubs and other groups that meet on a fortnightly or monthly basis across a number of locations in Suffolk. Further details can be found at https://www.sportingmemoriesnetwork.com/suffolk-clubs.

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