Parents are advised to take their children to the playground regularly to improve the kids’ motor skills and coordination. They also need fresh air, sunshine, and interaction with their peers, necessary for building socialization and communication skills.
However, the idea of playgrounds shouldn’t be limited to kids only. Tender children and elderly adults have more in common than any other age groups. They require interpersonal relationships and peer groups more, and they need mild and informal physical activity to either develop their bodies or improve/maintain fitness.
Senior parks can’t be expected to feature, swings, crawl tunnels, and adrenaline-inducing structures. These parks feature low-impact equipment targeted at improving muscle strength, motor coordination, balance and flexibility. Exercise bikes, cross-trainers, flex runners, flex wheels, sit-up benches, and low-speed treadmills are usually available.
These parks do not merely serve the purpose of improving the physical wellbeing of the elderly. Getting out once in a while to meet people, have tea in the park, share memories, and socialize is equally important for senior citizens. Loneliness and isolation is a common problem amongst the elderly population.
Senior parks around the world
Playgrounds for seniors are gradually becoming a common sight around the globe, having spread throughout Asia and Europe in the past couple of decades. In 1995, China blazed the trail when they set up a park to serve as a recreational area for seniors.
Japan immediately took up the idea, followed by several European countries. According to Pri.org, the concept was a huge hit in Spain, where Barcelona alone has about 300 senior parks. The Spanish government is investing a lot to fund these parks, because they believe in them.
Analysts estimate that about 40 to 45 percent of the Spanish population will be 65 by 2050. Keeping this age group mentally alert and physically fit is a top priority to the government.
Today, the United States is slowly working towards populating her home base with senior-targeted playgrounds. Although there are already parks exclusive to seniors only, the United States is taking a different approach for the most part. They are focused on populating the country with multi-generational parks, suited for both seniors and children.
The company of children is helpful to the mental wellbeing and happiness of the elderly. These age groups interact more affably with one another. In many states around the country, grandparents serve as babysitters while the parents are at work. Building recreational areas to serve both the young and old was a nicely aimed shot.