An American team of care home residents will fly 4,000 miles to Glasgow, where they will take part in the games for the elderly.
The Sporting Senior Games will see elderly people from Charleston, West Virginia compete in a series of events against care home residents from throughout Scotland.
Dawn Skelton, GCU’s Professor in Ageing and Health, organised the games, which will take place in the University’s Arc health and fitness facility.
The Sporting Senior Games are being organised in collaboration with charity Erskine and the Institute for Geri Olympics and Active Living in West Virginia.
The competitors will battle it out in a range of sports including cycling on static bikes, bowls, basketball and a wheelchair obstacle course. Other events, giving the day a Highland Games theme, are tossing the welly and tossing the sheep – how high they can throw a cuddly toy in the air.
The Games look to promote active living, wellbeing and quality of life among older people. GCU has significant research expertise in developing and evaluating new interventions to promote healthy living, maintain independence, improve quality of life and activity in older adults, including evidence-based fall prevention programmes for elderly people at risk of falls and promoting physical independence by involving users in rehabilitation.
“Being as active as possible whenever possible is a message for everyone, but particularly important for people living in care homes,” said Professor Skelton. “The Sporting Senior Games, which we hope to make a yearly event, aim to increase awareness of the fun of friendly competition even at advanced ages.”
The formidable US team includes a former Navy Seal and a champion of similar sporting events in America called the Geri Olympics. Professor Skelton expects the home audience will encourage the Scottish participants with a rendition of the ‘Hampden roar’.
Erskine’s Head Physiotherapist Janet Leith said: “The Sporting Senior Games will bring many benefits to our residents including increased confidence, improved physical fitness and mental wellbeing plus the opportunity to mix with different people to have fun.
“Residents from all five Erskine care homes will take part in the sporting activities which are designed to be accessible to all our veterans regardless of physical ability. The cultural and social activities, which include Scottish food tasting and a ceilidh, can also be enjoyed by all. Our veterans are looking forward to the Games and to ensuring the visitors from America receive a warm Scottish welcome and go home with fond memories of their time in Scotland.”
The American Friends of Erskine with thanks to The Caledonian Club of San Francisco and the Nimar Charitable Trust have generously donated funding towards the costs of the Games.