Residents at Concordia of Monroeville are pretty used to the sights and sounds of a bowling alley.
The pins are set, the ball is headed down the lane, the thunderous clap of a strike rings out and the crowd erupts… and what’s even better is that the residents don’t even need to wear their bowling shoes.
Wii bowling has been growing in popularity at retirement communities since the release of Wii Sports in 2006. Video games might seem out of place in senior care, but Wii Sports offers an accessible way to play in the comfort of their home.
Concordia residents love to play the game regularly at several of our locations, but personal care and skilled nursing residents at Concordia of Monroeville take it a step further. Not only do they play for fun, but they have competed … and won tournaments each of the last three years.
Carol A. Trent, M.S., the co-owner of Greensburg Senior Helpers, created a Virtual Bowling Tournament in 2009. Held the last seven years, the tournament is a clear example of how passionate senior residents are about staying active – and improving their scores. The Monroeville team was even recorded by filmmaker Barbara Kolonay for an upcoming documentary she is producing about the Tournament, titled “We r Wii.”
The 2015 Tournament took place between January 15 and February 14, 2015. While the weather outside was cold and dreary, a group of residents at Concordia of Monroeville found joy and fun inside. Participants generally warm up with exercises a half hour before playing, while their cheerleaders arm themselves with megaphones.
“Let the pins fall where they may,” Concordia of Monroeville Director of Activities Joan Santora said.
Joan has been an activity director for 14 years, and thinks the tournament has stayed popular with the residents because it is both exciting and competitive. Residents and staff alike love the tournament and games.
Monroeville’s competitors are dedicated to the game. Even though she is in a wheelchair, Murna Wilsman plays regularly. The only “bowler” who resides in skilled nursing, she teaches her teammates the tricks of the trade, and her average score proves her expertise.
The oldest of a large, loving family, Murna graduated from a Christian college in Texas and worked for GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical in North Carolina where she was on a bowling team. She suffered a stroke that paralyzed her right side and came home to intensive therapy in Monroeville, where she eventually learned to bowl left-handed. Her team credits her with the three consecutive championships.
Another one of Monroeville’s star bowlers is Donald Biddick, also known as “Papa Bear” by his fellow teammates. Donald, age 92, remembers hurrying to get his farm chores finished so he could go bowling at the alley in small town Iowa during his childhood. He came to Concordia of Monroeville after his wife of 46 years passed away. He bowls 180, is the only man on the team and says he doesn’t think he’s a champion. But his teammates think Papa Bear gets the strikes that help put them in first place.
“The residents practice very hard during the year, so it gives them something to strive for and look for-ward to. Several residents enjoy being the ‘cheerleaders’ for the team,” Joan said. “Because we, the activity staff, get so excited and build it up, both staff and residents anticipate the next year’s challenge.”
After the end of the tournament, participation certificates are distributed to the bowlers.
“This is never going to get old,” Joan vowed.
If you are interested in retirement living, personal care/assisted living or skilled nursing/short-term rehab for you or your loved one, message us through our online Contact form or feel free to call our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571.