Cycling Without Age gives long-term care residents a breath of fresh air
SUDBURY -- A program that originated in Denmark has come to Greater Sudbury, connecting the elderly and less able with nature, their community and social interaction.
Known as Cycling Without Age, residents in two long-term care homes in Sudbury are going for rides on a trishaw, which is battery-powered bike. The program has residents at St. Joseph's Villa in Sudbury and Villa St. Gabriel Villa in Chelmsford going out on nearby trails.
Vera Leclair, 104, lives at St. Joseph's Villa and is a regular rider.
"Oh you get to see all the country," Leclair said. "The beautiful homes, the university, trees, grass, everything. You are out in the open."
Her pilot on the trishaw is William McCormick, a volunteer at the villa since he was 13. He now works as a summer student while studying health promotion at Laurentian University.
"I really think it's allowing them to get out and also have that sort of one-to-one visit and one-to-one discussion with somebody," said McCormick. "You learn a lot (about) somebody when you are biking around with them -- it's not just taking in the scenery."
Leclair said she loves that interaction and feels safe out riding.
"He tells you everything to do, what you have to do to keep safe. He is a wonderful person," she said.
St. Joseph's Villa in Sudbury and St. Gabriel Villa in Chelmsford got the bikes through a fundraising golf tournament, Chip in for Charity.
"The bikes comes from Denmark, and they were created by a man named Ole Kassow," said Angie Gilchrist, a program coordinator at St. Joseph's Health Centre. "He drove past an old age home in Denmark and he (saw) a senior waving, and his mindset from that point on was how do I get the senior population back onto a bike?"
Another aim of Cycling Without Age is to bring the young and elderly together, in the great outdoors to experience the joy of travelling by bike.