Good old-fashioned technology
There isn't a bowling alley at Providence Care Center in Beaver Falls, but that doesn't keep residents — or their guests — from enjoying the sport. On February 19, a group of Geneva College students visited the care center for a night of Nintendo® Wii™ bowling.
Once a month, this group of students carpools to the care center to spend a little of their free time with those who might not otherwise have a reason to leave their rooms. On a typical night, seven or eight students will make the trip to spend time with 10 to 15 residents, but February 19 was a good night. Eighteen students showed up to play Nintendo® Wii™ bowling with the residents.
The Wii™ is a wireless video game console that allows for easy handling for people of any age — turning an activity like bowling into something anyone can do. Providence Care Center purchased one for their residents and so far it has been a hit. And for the Geneva Senior Ministries Club, it serves as an activity that crosses generational barriers and provides some common ground between students and the elderly.
Providence resident Ms. Sara Lesko is the center’s reigning Wii™ bowling champion. This time, she scored a 138, enough to keep her status but not enough to break her high score of 245. While residents waited for their turn to bowl, freshman Christian ministries major Carolyn McMann entertained them with a skill she learned in clown school. Amidst smiles and laughter, she transformed a bag of balloons into bouquets, fishing rods with dangling goldfish, funky hats and much more.
One resident, 82-year-old Mr. Dan Davis, received a hat and a watch made from blue and green balloons — his favorite colors. Mr. Davis always comes to craft nights and has a bit of a reputation for being a flirt. “I think he has married half a dozen girls since I started coming,” jokes sophomore biology major Margaret Roberts, the leader of the Geneva Senior Ministries Club.
At first, Roberts joined the ministry because it seemed like a good thing to do. But after going once, she realized how much she learned from the residents and enjoyed spending time with them. “I have become friends with them, and I genuinely want to see them. There is Margaret, who loves to talk about her children, and Angie, who loves to sing! They're all characters, and to everyone who goes and keeps coming back, they're like family.”
“I believe its important for students to get involved in senior ministries,” she says. “The Bible tells us that we should respect and love our elders, but a lot of people disrespect them by making jokes about them, or simply ignoring them. Also, a lot of the residents here are unhappy because it was not their decision to move to the nursing home. Many of them don’t get any visitors at all. So the fact that we visit them gives them something to look forward to.”
– Rima Warren ’09