Live, Laugh, and Luge: Pacific Springs’ Yeti Games Foster Fun, Whole-Person Wellness

The competitors met on the field of battle, ready to claim victory. And to the delight of roughly 90 independent and assisted living residents who attended, they did not disappoint.

The sounds of laughter, cheers, and spirited competition filled the Community Room at Pacific Springs on February 8 as the retirement living community’s second-annual Yeti Games commenced.

Similar to the Winter Olympics, the Yeti Games consist of nine sporting events adapted for ease and skill level: biathlon, slalom skiing, curling, snowball hockey, Yeti target toss, jousting, bobsled, reindeer discus, and Hungry, Hungry Yeti. (Along the lines of the game Hungry, Hungry Hippos, Hungry, Hungry Yeti involves competitors rolling on scooters while grabbing plastic balls with a basket. Whoever collects the most balls is the winner.)

The fun-filled competitive event is a collaboration between Pacific Springs’ Life Enrichment and Wellness teams.

“This has turned out to be one of the main events that the residents love,” said Rebecca Weeder, Pacific Springs’ Life Enrichment Manager. “They enjoy seeing the staff members out of their normal roles and engaging in friendly competition. The staff members also have a great time, although you do see some competitive sides come out!”

Each of the four teams, consisting of three to six team members, had a cheering section comprised of about 20 residents. Residents also competed with their team staff members in four events, including the biathlon. Team members and residents rotated in the games to ensure broader participation.

“We thought it would be fun for the staff and residents, especially in the middle of winter — after the holidays and before all of the spring events,” said Rebecca. “The Pacific Springs team members were more than willing to participate.”

This year’s games had a Mardi Gras theme. Along those lines, the four teams and cheering sections were divided by festive colors: gold, purple, red, and green. Before the games commenced, teams entered the community room on “parade” floats and handed out bead necklaces to their respective cheering sections.

Howls of laughter from the residents filled the room as team members perched precariously on inflatable donuts and jousted with inflatable lances and as other residents donned inflatable antlers for reindeer discus (ring toss).

The games not only break up winter monotony, but the overall experience is also good for residents’ physical and emotional health. Fostering residents’ whole-person wellness is part of Pacific Springs’ — and Immanuel’s — commitment to retirement living and senior care.

“Many residents commented after the event that their stomachs hurt from laughing so hard,” Rebecca said. “The residents stay engaged during the entire event. Socially and emotionally, residents come together to cheer on their teams and have some good laughs. Physically, their cores get a great workout, and their endorphins are moving!”