by Jenny Bernsgard
Care homes and sheltered accommodation for the elderly have recently been supplied with table tennis tables; once again the adage that table tennis is a sport for all ages and has health benefits to those of more senior years has been indelibly underlined.
At the Nyhem flats for the elderly on Tuesday 6th March, the assembly hall was filled to the brim as residents had come to hear how playing table tennis can improve health. Especially, they wanted to see and play against the city’s legend, Jörgen Persson, the 1991 World champion and ambassador for the World Team Table Championships.
Regardless of whether you are in good or poor health in old age, physical activity is essential. Elderly people, who are physically active, enjoy advantages such as a better sense of balance and tend to have fewer falls and thus avoid injuries.
It is a fact of which Dr Margareta Pejner from the School of Health and Welfare at Halmstad University is in no doubt.
“What is also important for one’s health is the social aspect. The advantage of table tennis is that it is not an individual sport; you socialise when you play. If you have a table at hand, as is the case here at the Nyhem flats for the elderly, it’s easy to come down from your flat and play or join the others cheering the players on. The important thing is having the opportunity to socialise with each other.” Dr Margareta Pejner
The Liebherr World Team Championships is a major event for Halmstad and for Sweden; as part of spreading the word “Destination Halmstad”, with Carina Jakobsson, the Project Manager at the helm, a table tennis table project has been formulated as part of Ping Pong Power overall initiative.
“In close cooperation with our partner, Butterfly, we have provided around 70 tables in places such as care homes for the elderly, schools and other places where people can play against each other. There are also 20 or so tables in public outdoor spaces.” Carina Jakobsson
An occasion for all to remember, especially the chance to receive advice and play against Jörgen Persson was very special. Notably, in addition Tilda Johansson and Erika Front, national Women’s Doubles champions and both members of Halmstad Table Tennis Club, were present. They are employed on a part-time temporary basis in home care services.
photo: Anders Andersson