More than 80 Massachusetts residents participated in the 5th Annual Element Care PACE Olympics on Sept. 15.

Among the PACE Olympians were 40 adults over age 70, eight over age 80, and a 93-year-old veteran of World War II. Seven teams represented Element Care PACE centers of the North Shore and Merrimack Valley, including members of the Albanian, Cambodian, Laotian and Latino communities.

The event featured bocce, bean bag toss and fast ball relay. New this year was an activity called “A Healthy State of Mind,” a three-part relay race consisting of a two-person puzzle competition, a cup and plate stacking challenge, and a ping-pong sinker race. There were multiple rounds of competition.

“The goal of Element Care’s PACE Olympics is to promote wellness and a healthy, active lifestyle for older adults so they can live in their homes and communities safely and comfortably for as long as they can, keeping their stays in hospitals and nursing homes as minimal as possible,” said Bob Wakefield, executive director of Element Care.

The games were extremely competitive, with participants practicing two to three times a week – sometimes even daily – leading up to the event. Each team was supported by cheerleaders decked out in team colors and wielding noisemakers and pom-poms. The winning team was Emerson PACE at Element Care in Gloucester, MA. Wakefield presented the team with the Element Care PACE Olympic trophy.

Among those cheering on the athletes were Lynn residents Alisetta “Tootsie” Smith, 71, and Kenneth Kosch, 93, a World War II Navy veteran who served on the USS Nevada. “I love PACE and the Olympics,” said Kosch. “You meet different people at the PACE center, and the PACE team does a great job providing health care. They keep you happy.”

Multiple teams competed in the fast ball relay event at the Element Care PACE Olympics.

Emerson PACE at Element Care in Gloucester, MA, was the winning team.

Lowell residents Bill and Eileen Langlois cheered on the PACE Olympians.

Alisetta “Tootsie” Smith and Kenneth Kosch met at Element Care PACE four years ago.

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