February 13, 2008
The Nintendo Wii has made headlines as one of the most sought after gaming systems.
People of all ages are doing anything they can to get their hands on the interactive remotes, but for different reasons.
For a child or even a young adult the Wii is just a game, a way for them to play with friends or family, but for someone in their 80's it's a way to stay active and continue playing the games they've enjoyed their whole life.
Doctor Sarah Chitwood was once a master on the tennis court, but now she's mastered the remote. After playing her all time favorite game just four times on the Wii she's now perfecting her serve and refining her forehand.
“Today I'm trying to speed up my reflexes. When the ball comes across the net I should be ready for it, get my arm back, aim and hope, Chitwood said.
Thanks to her care providers at The Colonnades, Chitwood is joining many seniors across the nation who are looking to the Wii as a way to remain active.
Executive Director of The Colonnades, Mark Kastan says one of the residents suggested adding the game to their facility after he played it with his kids.
“He said hey you know I love playing golf, I can't get out there anymore,” Kastan explained.
After a lengthy search, Kastan hooked up the Wii in assisted living and watched this new generation of gamers come alive.
“The golf club to difficult to swing, the bowling ball to difficult to lift up and now with this game here they can do all of those things again,” said Kastan.
“Once you really catch on to it and are ready you can do it,” said Chitwood.
The game not only keeps their muscles moving, it also engages the brain.
“Hand eye coordination is important in the game. Thinking about what's going on the screen at the same time moving. I think those things help keep you sharper and more alert,” Kastan said.
“Your mind has to get in there or you're never going to hit the ball, you'll probably never hit it anyway, we won't tell,” said Colonnade resident, Bernice Anderson.
Kastan says one of the residents’ favorite things about playing the Wii is creating their own character. However, they usually make themselves look like they did many, many years ago.
The Colonnades is planning to add another Wii for more residents to play. There's even talk about creating a bowling and tennis league