As we grow older, the things that we can do are getting more and more limited. It’s hard to enjoy some things and activities because of physical restrictions that come with aging.
Nature tripping, for one, is an activity that is definitely harder to do once you get painful joints and weaker muscles brought about by aging. It’s easier for the elderly to just stay indoors rather than take the chance of having an achy back just to get a glimpse of nature.
It’s actually too bad that this reality is happening because being near nature is a good thing for the aged. A breath of fresh air and seeing the beauty of nature will surely relieve some stress and loneliness, which is quite important when you are trying to cope with a senior citizen’s lifestyle.
Fortunately, someone realized how important it is for the elderly to be with nature from time to time. This incredible person is Ole Kassow from Denmark, and he decided to help his community by bringing old people closer to nature so they can reap all the benefits that being near nature can bring.
Back in 2012, Kassow started a project called Cycling Without Age. This movement aims to bring the elderly to nature without them having to worry about the pains they might get from over-exerting themselves. Kassow began taking some older community members on rides in a rickshaw and quickly saw how it impacts them on a positive manner.
“I saw an elderly gentleman sitting in front of a nursing home, Kassow explained in an interview with Generations Working Together. “As usual, I was on my bike and came up with the idea that maybe he wanted to join me and we could get to know each other. I rented a rickshaw and it took off from there. The man became my friend, his name is Thorkild.”
Seeing the positive effects of these rides to the elderly with his own eyes, Kassow immediately knew that he did the right thing.
“Our modern fast-paced lifestyle means that we value youth and careers and sometimes forget to appreciate the older generation and their wisdom. That means many people become isolated and lonely as they grow old.”
Eventually, Kassow got to multiply his efforts and resources and was able to provide 1,500 rickshaws driven in 1,100 locations by around 10,000 volunteer pilots. The fact that anyone can sign up to drive the elderly is another plus.
But, driving elderly people around needs enough training and practice, that’s why Cycling Without Aging makes sure that all of their volunteers are equipped with the right know-how when it comes to looking after elderly people.
This amazing idea spread like wildfire, and it is something that Kassow still finds to be unbelievable.
“Luckily the media have taken an interest in what we do and we see how the interest is often sparked by a story in the news. The first international interest came after my TED Talk in the autumn of 2014. Recently the BBC video ‘Amazing Humans’ about Fraser and Mary in Scotland was shown 26 million times. Cycling Without Age addresses challenges of loneliness and active mobility, which seem to appeal to everybody.”
Aside from the usual benefits of being near nature, riding on rickshaws have taken another meaning when the volunteers in Canada used their rides to improve the quality of life of people suffering from dementia. It is definitely a cause that’s worth supporting and it is good to know that this project is continuing to grow which can only mean that a lot of people are rooting for what this project is really about.
If you are interested in becoming a part of this project, you may see more details by visiting the website and reaching out to the CWA team.
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