Burnt Oak care home residents take up golf

Egle Rameikaite reports on a new initiative to support increased physical activity in Barnet

Appletree Court residents playing Fun Golf (Credit – Better/GLL)

Residents at a Barnet care home have the chance to enjoy an exciting new pastime thanks to a project run by the borough’s leisure service. 

The residents of Appletree Court in Burnt Oak have been introduced to ‘Fun Golf’ as part of the scheme run by local leisure provider, Better

Fun Golf is an indoor version  of mini-golf which uses soft balls and sticky ‘targets’. It is ideal for people with limited mobility because it can be played sitting down. 

Barnet’s Community Sports Manager, Petrit Krasniqi, introduced the game to the care home  as part of an ongoing plan to reach out to people who might be reluctant to participate in physical activity. Golf  requires eye to hand coordination and strategic thinking that many residents had not used in years – and a US study by Fyzical Therapy and Balance Centers found golf to be beneficial for elders as a low impact overall physical activity, promoting flexibility, and balance. 

So far, the project has gone down well with residents.  Ken, aged 94, said  “It brought back memories, being able to play golf again in a safe and comfortable environment. I loved the challenges that Petrit set and I tried to make sure that every Wednesday I didn’t make plans so that I didn’t miss any of the golf sessions.” 

Michael, a wheelchair-user who has suffered a stroke and can only use one arm, said, “With Petrit’s help, I was able to take part in the golf session so I felt involved and not left out.”

 “Golf helped with my standing and balance and I looked forward to this every Wednesday. It was nice to see a young lad mixing with the elderly”, said another resident ‘Mr M’.

Petrit says he has also enjoyed the sessions and benefited from the residents’ wisdom. “We had some inspiring conversations and they gave me good life-advice,” he explains. “A couple of the residents told me about what it was like going to watch a football match, back-in-the-day. It was like a window into the past.’’

He visited the home for six weeks, teaching the game and showing carers how to run the activities themselves. Following the success of the project, staff and residents at Appletree Court plan to  continue to run fun golf on a regular basis.

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