Photo by Conor Samuel on Unsplash.

Ping pong provides ‘fountain of youth’ for B.C. seniors

The game of ping pong is transforming the lives of seniors in a B.C. long-term care home.

According to the Vancouver Sun, weekly tournaments at Normanna Long Term Care Home in Burnaby, B.C., began when recreation manager, Leslie Torreson, bought a ping pong table in February.

“There was skepticism,” Torreson told the Sun. “But the residents right away came alive.”

Jasmine Murtadza, one resident who suffered a stroke in October, has been using the sport as a rehabilitative activity.

Prior to taking up ping pong, Murtadza didn’t want to socialize or leave her room.

“The difference has been, I would say, night and day. She’s talking, she’s smiling, she joins all the other programs. It’s like a light went on,” Torreson said.

Now, the 95-year-old is one of the keenest players in the sport’s weekly tournaments.

Marija Uzelac, another resident, was so excited about the tournament last Thursday that she phoned her daughter to tell her to come watch.

“She won the last (tournament), and this was a rematch,” her daughter, Anne Uzelac, said in an interview with the Sun. “She absolutely loves it.”

Carlos DeLeon, Uzelac’s team partner who grew up playing baseball and volleyball, has also found the sport to be beneficial.

“Playing ball always makes me happy,” he told the Sun.

The sport, which Torrreson refers to as the “fountain of youth,” can get up to 40 residents taking part in games in a given day.

Staff of the home have even joined in, teaming up with the residents as others cheer on.