Playgrounds for seniors

I recently became aware of an innovation from the Finnish playground manufacturer Lappset: the playgrounds (in Finnish, leikkialue) for senior citizens. First I was not sure should I was going to laugh or what, but then I decided to take it as a reflection of today’s culture.,Lets face the facts: the population of industrialized countries is getting older. The big generations born after the World Wars are just about at the age of retirement, and, due to different lifestyles, contraceptives and the independence of women, younger generations are not so large in numbers anymore. This makes the balance between old and young population totally different relation to what it has traditionally been: traditionally, children were the majority generation of the population, and elders the dying one, not figuratively speaking.,The way of life has changed drastically over the last few decades. Whereas more or less hundred years ago it was typical that three generations, from grandparents to toddlers, live under the same roof, nowadays the idea of nuclear family, parent or parents and children, is the main solution for living style. Grandparents are living in their own apartments, or when enough old, in retirement homes.,But is Lappset innovative in their thinking, or are they just reflecting the changing world? A hundred years ago, it might have been fun idea to have special playgrounds with special playground equipments for children even in industrialized countries. Children were, at least in some parts of the nation, considered as the source of labor. It was a challenge even getting them to school, and still special holidays had to be given for school children when they were needed for helping their parents with harvest duties. No playgrounds for them at those times.,Nowadays senior citizens are living older, and many of them are living alone. Is it really a stupid idea to provide them places to have some outdoor activities and meet others? Any outdoor activity is more stimulating than bingo; and this kind of specific area, maybe even with playground attendant, make safe place to do exercise. The senior citizen playground in the park of retirement home makes a great hang-around place for seniors living there, and with good city planning, this kind of playground could be the meeting place for children and elders alike.

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