This blog follows on from earlier posts on the subject of ExtraCare Traditions. They can be found by clicking on “EXTRACARE TRADITIONS” in the TAG CLOUD.
The common thread that runs through all of the work at ExtraCare was the theme of “activities”. It wasn’t that everyone had to participate, but our aim was to provide such a range of opportunities that everyone could find something to do. Although we regularly gave prizes and awards for the activities, participation was focused on fun rather than educational achievement.
The 1992 Sports Day kicked off a lot of sporting activities which are covered in my post “ExtraCare Traditions 3”. It was followed in 1994 by the celebration of a much wider range of activities in the Elderflower Festival which is commented on more fully in “ExtraCare Traditions 4”.
Eventually we built on these activities to the point where there were 82 different activities that it was possible to take part in, in ExtraCare. To record this, we came up with the concept of “Books of Life”, which created for residents a diary of the things they took part in complete with photographs. Most residents took part in only a few activities but some made it a challenge to take part in as many things as possible.
To celebrate this we gave out Gold medals to all the residents who completed all 82 activities. This became known as Going for Gold. Every year, residents who completed the Going for Gold challenge, were asked to submit their Books of Life and these were then judged by a celebrity panel.
The prize for the first medal winners was Tea at the Dorchester Hotel. Subsequently, thanks to the link we had with the Dorchester Hotel, many other residents were able to enjoy their teas.
The first big prize we had as a Going for Gold award was a trip to the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne in 2006. 15 residents, who had all completed the award, spent a week in Australia including a visit to Sydney.
The following year the award was a trip to Las Vegas where they mightily impressed a group of American seniors who were attending a conference on ageing. They also had a lot of fun playing the slot machines 🙂