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Wii bowling competition gets seniors rolling

RoseMarie Cesario maneuvers Wii controller throw ball toward pins during Wii bowling practice Heritage Woods Assisted Living Center South Elgin.

RoseMarie Cesario maneuvers the Wii controller to throw a ball toward the pins during Wii bowling practice at Heritage Woods Assisted Living Center in South Elgin. Four-member teams are comprised of bowlers aged 71 to 95 and are in a competition that lasts eight weeks. March 16, 2011 | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: July 8, 2011 12:18AM

There they are, every Monday and Wednesday afternoon, teams of seniors rolling strikes and adding up “turkeys” at Heritage Woods Assisted Living Center.

The Wii bowling competition rolls around each year through the activities designed to highlight Supportive Living Week (April 24-30 this year).

Gracie Nebel, Heritage Woods administrator, said the seniors have a good shot at making it to the state competition this year, which will be held in Springfield.

The four-member teams — with bowlers ages 71 to 95 —are in competition that lasts eight weeks. Scores are submitted each week to the Affordable Assisted Living Coalition, which is administering the program.

Nebel said the teams are being sponsored by Preferred Home Health Agency. Thus, the teams have selected names that reflect their sponsor. The Preferred Pins team practices Monday afternoons, while the Wii Prefer Strikes team puts in its time on Wednesdays.

“One of our teams is in the top three in the state,” Nebel said. “If they win, we will get them to Springfield for the final competition.”

Supportive Living Week has a theme that goes further than bowling — it crosses over into art as well. The theme this year is Art Is Ageless, and residents at the center are entering submissions that include an acrostic poem, paintings and a cross-stitch craft. If chosen, these submissions will go on to the statewide competition as well.

“My goal here is to get our residents to realize, yes, being here benefits their safety, but their lives can be so much richer through the experiences they can be a part of,” she said. “When you move into Heritage Woods, life is only just beginning.”

To that end, Nebel said residents have started several clubs that help support their interests, such as theater, glee, baking and knitting.

“One of my goals has been to be more serving of the community — to help people outside our scope,” Nebel said. “Our residents would like to start making booties and blankets for local pediatric units. The glee and theater clubs can go into nursing homes and perform. There are so many things [our residents] can learn to do. We are still opening doors [of opportunity] for people.”

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