Arts & Entertainment

Retirees Begin ‘Wii Olympics’

Days after the 2008 Summer Olympics kicked off in Beijing, senior citizens of Chesterbrook Assisted Living Residence in Falls Church celebrated the start of their first ever Wii Olympics with an opening ceremony on Tuesday.

Residents at Chesterbrook enjoyed an afternoon of festivities, and an appearance by Steve Gurney, publisher of Guide to Retirement Living.

Nintendo’s revolutionary video game system, Wii enables players to interact physically with the game via the portable remote – more work than the dexterous fingering most game consoles require for their joystick.

The ceremony lasted just over two hours. Beforehand, Gurney greeted every resident, and started the Olympics by playing three games against various members of Chesterbrook’s two four-person teams.

In addition, Gurney spent last weekend learning how to play Wii to avoid embarrassing himself against the well-trained seniors. The residents however, sporting their customized team t-shirts, had no intention of going easy on a rookie player.

“[The ceremony] went really well,” said Marriam Hameed, Chesterbrook’s Director of Activities. “The residents supported each other, and there was a lot of team spirit.”
Over the next three weeks, residents at Chesterbrook compete against various groups and each other with Nintendo’s hands-on video game. The residents look forward to taking on challengers in “Wii Bowling,” the only event of the games, due to its popularity among retirement communities in Virginia.

The first challengers will be Chesterbrook’s own volunteers on August 19. The following day they play the local fire department, and on August 21, the residents have challenged the entire Chesterbrook staff.
However, the most anticipated tournament is final event on August 26 against Potomac Place, their sister community in Woodbridge.
The Chesterbrook residents have invited Wii players from Potomac Place for a pizza party and an intense afternoon of virtual bowling. The closing ceremony follows on August 27.

“[The sister community] will be their first real challenge” said Hameed. “They will finally be playing against people of their own age and skill level.”
The residents at Potomac Place have a Wii of their own, and like Chesterbrook residents, they play at least three times a week to prepare for competition.

The Wii Olympics allows residents to get in touch with their competitive nature and use physical ability and hand eye coordination in a fun and competitive way, without too much more external effort.

Coordinated Services Management (CSM), a company, which serves retirement communities across Virginia, came up with the idea to put Wii’s in their communities this spring. CSM has made the Wii Olympics a state-wide event this summer.