Meadowlark Care Home residents have put Forres on the map as the home can now boast an array of Olympic athletes.

Following weeks of gentle training, residents from care homes across the country teamed up to compete in the first ever Renaissance Care Olympics in a bid to better their physical and mental wellness. The 15 care homes battled for victory in five categories; Pitch n Putt, 400m walking, seated volleyball, boxing and beanbag throwing, with resounding success for one Forres care home.

Staff at Renaissance Care’s Meadowlark went the extra distance for their Olympians, arranging for music, dancing and Asian cuisine at both opening and closing ceremonies, with celebrations rivalling those in Tokyo. The activities were found to be so popular, that the care home plan to continue their walking, boxing and Pitch n Putt challenges long after the competition ends.

Despite the age range of the Meadowlark Olympic team spanning from 70 to 98, the contest allowed for many firsts within the home. Many of the female athletes had never tried boxing before, but it has since become one of the most popular activities within the home. For others, it was an opportunity to reconnect with hobbies from their past, as with one resident who fondly reflected on her days spent with a walking group as she grafted to rack up the most 400m walking stints throughout July.

With the majority of residents joining in the fun and games, staff reported an extraordinary difference in the fitness and stamina of residents. Amongst those who benefitted were Peter Gordon and Ian Macdonald, both keen walkers with improved mobility following the challenge.

Meadowlark resident Peter, aged 96, said: “I’ve always enjoyed walks with friends and family, but the past year has made it tougher to get out and about due to the pandemic. Throughout the Olympics I’ve been able to double my walking distance which means more to me than a medal – though that would be nice too!”

Ian, aged 74, said: “The Olympics have been such fun for everyone, and the staff have been amazing at motivating us. I used to walk to the lounge and back, but now I’m able to walk round the garden, and even further afield.

Derra Kew, Activities Co-ordinator at Renaissance Care’s Meadowlark Care Home, said: “The difference in our residents has been phenomenal. After a year where energy levels have been low, the Renaissance Care Olympics has given Meadowlark the boost that we all needed.

“Throughout lockdown, we’ve had to be creative when planning activities, and since we always encourage gentle exercise, this seemed like the perfect idea. I’m very proud of everyone’s efforts – bring on Paris 2024!”