BY YANN TEAR
Residents at a council care home have embarked on a round-the-world cycle race – although none will leave their lounge.
Residents living at Norton House, in Arneway Street, Victoria have been given a special bike – a so called ‘Dementia Bike’– to participate in the Road World for Seniors challenge against seniors from across the world.
The aim is for individuals and teams to clock up as many kilometres as they can throughout September, with their results logged on the stationary exercise bike’s computer and compared against others.
The experience is made particularly enjoyable as residents can tap into the bike’s video database to take cycling trips in more than 350 locations across the world.
The Norwegian team behind the technology, Motiview, say they developed the idea after realising that many age-related disorders are caused by physical inactivity rather than age itself.
The race stimulates physical activity and improves mental well-being, offering benefits including better mobility, fewer falls, faster rehabilitation, increased appetite with reduced obesity, deeper sleep, less pain, memory stimulation and generally feeling better.
Councillor Heather Acton, cabinet member for family services and public health, said: “We have pledged to do our best for people living with dementia.
“So it is a great honour that Norton House has been chosen to participate in this race – and we hope that the residents enjoy the experience as well as trying to win.”
The race started last week, opened by Jan Inge Ebbesvik, president for the Road Worlds for Seniors, who flew in from Norway for the occasion.
Alistair White from Care England also joined the home for the ribbon cutting.
The race coincides with the official UCI Road World Championships, which this year takes place in Yorkshire, from September 22-29.
Derek Broome, 86, who has lived at Norton House for three months, was first up on the machine. Despite needing a walking frame he notched up 1.6km taking in the sites of Buckingham Palace and the Albert Memorial.
He said: “It must have been 60 years since I was on a bicycle and it wasn’t like this – you don’t get wet, for a start. It’s a very, very good idea and will encourage people to talk to each other.”
Florence Judd, 88, said: “I’ll be going on it again, if my legs will let me. It’s fantastic, amazing. Although it feels heavy you don’t notice it and it’s nice and safe.
“You just sit in your chair and you know you are not going to fall off.
I wouldn’t mind the scenery around Bermuda, my sister had a hotel out there and we visited three times.”