First-ever playground for seniors opens in Lower Sackville

WATCH: The first playground specifically tailored for seniors is now open in Lower Sackville. It’s designed to get seniors out but also to keep them healthy. Julia Wong reports.

HALIFAX – Halifax now has its first playground specifically tailored for seniors.

The seniors agility park, located behind Acadia Hall in Lower Sackville, opened this week. It is the first of its kind in the municipality.

Linda Hefler, the director for the Acadia Recreation Club, said the park is a way for seniors to not only get outside but to get healthy.

Hefler said the various exercise devices can help seniors with their balance, hand-eye coordination and shoulder movements. She said they can also help with stretching, twisting and turning, all things that may get difficult for seniors as they age.

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The exercises include an uneven balance beam, stationary bike and a board on springs that works on balance. There are also large rotating boards that work out arm movements and gripping devices that will help increase hand strength.

“There are steps [where] they can lift their feet and step over, but at the same time they’re holding onto the bars,” she said.
“There are many things [where you are] sitting and you do twisting. You do things with your hands, learn to turn things, keep your wrist movement and be able to open jars.”
The seniors agility park, located behind Acadia Hall in Lower Sackville, opened this week. It is the first of its kind in the municipality. Julia Wong/Global News
This exercise helps seniors work on balance and coordination. Julia Wong/Global News
These rotating circle boards help seniors work on their arm movements. Julia Wong/Global News
Seniors can sit down and pedal on this stationary bike. Julia Wong/Global News

Hefler said the park is important in an area such as Sackville, which was several seniors groups, seniors centres and senior clubs.

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“There’s a lot of seniors that don’t want to go out to gyms and pay for the cost of gyms. They’re all on fixed incomes so this just enables people to get out,” she said.

Mary Stevens, who works with seniors at her job, said the park will be beneficial to seniors in the area.

“A lot of them could use something like this. It would be beneficial,” she said.

“The range of motion, the balance and just being able to move. That’s the important thing with seniors.”

“I think it’s wonderful,” said Denise MacDonald, 50, as she tried the park out for the first time on Thursday.

“I think it’s a great thing and it’s outside, which I think is great. I don’t go to the gym myself but being outside in the fresh air would be great for the seniors and also for me.”

Don MacLennan, who is on the board of directors of Acadia Hall and the nearby park, said the agility park is open to the public and free, which he hopes encourages people, especially seniors, to use it.

“It’s used for people that are having problems with walking and surgery,” he said, adding the exercises can help with joint management and agility.

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“If your balance is bad, you can learn to get your balance back. If you have a knee or hip replacement, you can learn to walk [again] without help.”

The agility park, which has a price tag of $21,000, was made possible thanks to a grant from the New Horizons for Seniors program.

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