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Seniors at Parkway Place use technology to get in shape

[caption id="attachment_5833" align="alignleft" width="500" caption="Aaron Mendoza, an 88-year-old Parkway Place resident, hit a nearly-perfect score of 299 during a recent national competition in Wii Bowling."][/caption]

HOUSTON, Texas -- You may not expect seniors in their 80s and 90s to bowl competitively and win, but that's exactly what is happening at Parkway Place, a senior living community in Houston.

Instead of tossing around 10 pound balls, the senior athletes stay in shape by picking up wireless Wii remotes and hitting strikes during games of Wii bowling. The five teams have won six trophies, and now they are gearing up to compete against other senior living communities in the regional National Senior League competition. One of the star players is Aaron Mendoza, 88-year-old Parkway Place resident, who hit a nearly perfect score of 299 during a recent national competition.

“Wii bowling is a fantastic way to stay in shape," Mendoza said. "The sport is quite a workout when you play a few games in row. It also helps me maintain balance which can prevent falls, and it keeps me mentally alert. The competition gives me something to work toward, and I really take pride in my bowling! It is a new year, and it is time for everyone to start thinking about fitness.”

The seniors recommend Wii Bowling to people of all ages. At Parkway Place, they follow a schedule and practice religiously. The community started with a few teams, and it has grown to about 40 participants during the competitions. The regional competition starts in February and the national championship kicks off in August. Parkway Place residents are practicing daily and they plan to do well in both competitions.

“We have an inspirational group of seniors who are passionate about bowling,” said Rhonda Duncan, life enrichment director for Parkway Place. “Everyone is looking for the fountain of youth or a way to feel young, and Parkway Place residents have discovered bowling helps them feel fit mentally and physically. Their dedication is contagious, and as we enter a new year, the residents hope to inspire others to get in shape.”

Duncan also holds a special awards ceremony for the Wii players where she recognizes them for their accomplishments. The event helps boost their confidence and it gives some seniors bragging rights.

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