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Elderly Playgrounds

Playgrounds evoke memories for many of us: swinging through the air, sliding down death-defying slippery-dips. But what about the times that we feel like slipping into the hard rubber of a swing seat and kicking off, pumping our legs back and forth to go ever higher and higher? Is it appropriate for adults to have fun at a playground?

The following article leaves me feeling a bit, well, dried up about growing old.

Is this all there is to look forward to in our older years? Is this the best that our communities and governments can come up with for the aging? Why aren’t there playgrounds for the middle years? What publicly provided play equipment is there for sufferers of mid-life crises?

Young at Heart: Germany’s First Playground for Seniors – International – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News

A new outdoor playground in Berlin’s Preussen Park is the first of its kind in Germany. Instead of catering to screaming tiny tots and children with boundless energy, the space is strictly for adults. The equipment, in fact, is designed for people at least 1.5 meters (5 feet) tall — children can use it only with adult supervision. The idea is to encourage seniors to exercise.

Eight graffiti-resistant machines (click link for image) made of robust stainless steel are laid out on a layer of soft bark under a canopy of trees. It looks as if someone has taken a gym and placed it in the middle of a forest.

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I must agree that it is an interesting idea, and on the surface has merit in this day and age with an every aging population. There is surely a market for some fun outdoor recreation for elderly people.

The closing remarks of the article are quite telling though

There were no young people at the opening, just pensioners. Later, though, when the celebrities were gone and the machines glowed in the sun like shiny public memorials, the battle over control of the playground began.

Two youngsters swung wildly at the leg trainer, as if they wanted to tear it apart. Behind them an old man had a go at the back massager. Meanwhile, two elderly ladies had their walking frames stuck in the layer of bark that covered the playground. <

Are the elderly ready for their own playground?

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Mike Thomas

Mike Thomas P.Eng. ENV SP, is the author of UrbanWorkbench.com and Director of Engineering at the City of Revelstoke in the Interior of British Columbia, Canada. If I post something here that you find helpful as you navigate the world of engineering, planning and building communities, that’s wonderful. But when push comes to shove: This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.