BETHLEHEM As Barbara Goodrich made the third lap around the hallways of Good Samaritan Nursing Home carrying a makeshift Olympic torch, a large group of seniors had gathered in the facility’s cafeteria to learn about this year’s winter games.
The seniors listened as Jim Gorman, the assistant director of recreational therapy, began the mini “opening ceremony” by telling them facts about the games being held in Sochi, Russia. Every few minutes, the cardboard and tissue paper torch would be handed off to another senior to make the rounds.
“Who knows how much it costs to put on this year’s Olympic games?” Gorman asked the group of about 50 seniors.
The guesses began in the millions and when they started reaching the billions, many showed signs of disgust. This year’s Olympic games are actually the most expensive in history, costing more than $51 billion.
“We didn’t put any money toward that, did we?” asked one woman, with Gorman explaining the United States did in a way, though the Olympic Committee.
When the presentation was over, Director of Recreational Therapy Sharon Rappaport told the seniors how, once again, the nursing home would be holding their own Olympic games through the end of the month. The games would be varied, with some participants being residents and others the staff. There would also be a trivia day for those who didn’t want to participate in athletic activities.
“We would like everyone involved, even if it’s just to come down and cheer on your team,” Rappaport said.
Each wing of the nursing home had been designated a different team and assigned a color of red, white or blue to wear during the games.
Activities for the residents included skee ball, ring toss and bowling, along with the trivia competition. The events become a little more intense for the staff. One event is a wheelchair race around cones, while the other event is the “Deacon Pull.” It involves Deacon Robert Fricke sitting in a locked wheelchair, while a member of the staff wears a harness attached to the chair and sees how far he or she can pull the deacon in the allotted time.