Keeping Busy At Eastlands During COVID-19

Post by: Eastlands Estate, 23 Mar 2020

When thinking about retirement, many people dream of having time to pursue hobbies, spend time with grandchildren and finally travel to all those places they were never able to see while they were working. The reality for many however, is often very different – loneliness, a sedentary lifestyle contributing to ill health, and worries about finances.

This is why at Eastlands, we are passionate believers in the benefits of an active retirement – even during this uncertain time of lockdown and social distancing as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). It’s now more important than ever for us all to stay fit, well and active – not only to help boost our immune systems and mental health, but for many other reasons too. Here are just a few:

  •  Staying active helps us stay strong and flexible, meaning we can be physically independent for longer.
  • It reduces our risk of injury from falling because we’re more agile and better able to maintain our balance.
  • Regular activity improves our endurance, meaning everyday tasks such as vacuuming or carrying in shopping from the car become easier and less tiring.

This is why we offer our residents a huge variety of activities designed to promote an active retirement and keep them busy mentally, physically, culturally and socially. We understand that it not only adds years to their life, but also life to their years!

After new restrictions were announced recently by President Ramaphosa, we thought it would be good to encourage our residents to think creatively when it comes to activities they can still do while practicing self-isolation. Here are a few great ideas:

  • Artistic Activities: Painting, adult colouring and drawing are all excellent activities that can be done indoors. They encourage concentration and are a great way to take your mind off the unsettling situation.
  • Crafts: Sewing, knitting, crocheting, and making cards, bookmarks and other homemade gifts are all fantastic indoor activities to keep minds active and hands busy!
  • Puzzles: Word and number puzzles (crosswords, Sudoku and so on) are fantastic brain boosters at any time, but are especially valuable now that we have to spend so much time indoors.
  • Indoor Gardening: Growing herbs, tending to a bonsai or nurturing a terrarium are all ways to help bring the outdoors in when we can’t get out much ourselves.
  • Physical Activity: Even if we can’t get out and walk or swim like we used to, there are still many activities to do indoors. Even housework counts as exercise, so there’s never been a better time to get in a little spring cleaning! You can also try marching on the spot, lunges across the lounge floor, toe raises, lifting light weights (even baked bean tins count!) or dancing to your favourite songs.

With a little creativity, all our residents can keep themselves busy and happy until the COVID-19 pandemic has passed, and we can get back to enjoying life as normal. When that time comes, there are so many exciting activities on offer at Eastlands. Here are a couple of residents who would love to introduce to you the active Eastlands lifestyle once it’s safe to do so:

Meet Roman Tulej

Roman is one of Eastlands’ original residents, having lived here since the early days when only one residential phase had been developed. He was the driving force behind an appeal for donations from other residents so that bat and owl boxes could be put up around the estate. Roman managed to raise over R17 000, enabling Eastlands to purchase five owl boxes, two bat boxes and two raptor poles. These were erected in various locations in the grassland areas of the estate.

Roman is excited to report that the project has been a resounding success – last year one of the owl boxes was home to five owlets, all of whom successfully hatched. Roman co-ordinates the annual maintenance of the boxes, which is undertaken every year ahead of the breeding season. This year, the estate is exploring the possibility of using recycled plastic boxes, which are kind to the environment and also need less maintenance.

Of course, owls are not the only birds we’re fortunate enough to have at Eastlands. Avid birdwatchers have spotted hoopoes, loeries, wagtails, herons, spur-winged geese and even a secretary bird, among many, many others. Our estate truly is a twitcher’s paradise!

Meet Denis Panaino

Denis is the man behind Eastlands’ extremely popular bowls club. Denis has been bowling for 36 years and coaching bowls for 28 years. So it was a no brainer that on arriving at Eastlands a little over 18 months ago, the first thing he did was get a bowling group together. Denis started with just four bowlers and now there are 72!

“The great thing about bowls is that anyone can do it,” he says. “We have residents with health issues such as back, knee or hip problems all participating and having fun.”

Bowls is a great way for older people to stay active and get fitter.

“If you play 20 ends, you’ve walked two and a half kilometres,” says Denis. “You also pick up the ball up to 42 times, and it’s quite heavy. You’re bending down and squatting…it’s like a fun form of physio!”

Denis believes a lot of bowls’ popularity lies in the fact that it’s not just a physical activity, it’s a social one too.

“There’s a great spirit of friendly competition here,” he says. “All the bowlers have made friends with each other, and many get together and play competitions at outside clubs.”

The Eastlands Bowls Club plays every Wednesday and Saturday morning, but residents are welcome to come and practice at any other day of the week as well.

Meet Christine Hemsted

Christine has been involved with crafts all her life and was instrumental in establishing the beautiful Craft Room at Eastlands. Everything in the room has been donated by residents, who also painted and decorated it.

“We have different classes during the week to keep us busy and help us learn new skills,” says Christine. “On Monday, we have a sewing group, and Tuesday is knitting and handcrafts. On Wednesday we have art classes (painting as well as other techniques, such as dot art, diamond dotting and card making). Thursday afternoons is crochet time.”

Christine and the other crafters often get involved in a number of projects that benefit different communities outside the boundaries of Eastlands – some even as far afield as Australia!

“We recently made kangaroo pouches and pouch liners which we sent to Australia to help animals injured in the recent devastating fires there,” says Christine.

They also make breast prostheses for cancer patients, and knit blanket squares for a variety of projects, including animal shelters, underprivileged communities and SANParks.

“We are involved in a number of very useful projects,” says Christine. “We love coming here.”


If you’d like to see for yourself just how much fun an active retirement can be, why not book an appointment to visit Eastlands and start planning a retirement that’s anything but retiring!


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