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November 1, 2012

Seniors go through their olympic PACEs

There will be a little friendly competition among the PACE at Elder Service Plan of the North Shore centers today, when they go head to head in competition in three sports they’ve been training for the last few months.

Team Emerson, comprised of about a dozen seniors at the Gloucester PACE center, has been training for the last nine weeks in volleyball, a disc toss and a “corn hole,” or beanbag toss.

Staff at the center who were working with the group, including Johanna Catania, a rehabilitation aide, said Wednesday that over the last nine weeks seniors were tracking the scores and everyone had improved dramatically from when they started training. Some participants lost weight, improved their balance and core strength, and improved their ability to aim at targets and move their bodies correctly for the appropriate sport, while being mindful of body mechanics and positioning for the right motions.

At the competition, guest speaker Dick Hoyt of Team Hoyt will address the gathered seniors with the motivational theme “Yes, you can.” He has long competed in many athletic events with his son Rick, who is a non-speaking quadriplegic with cerebral palsy. They are often seen in the Boston Marathon.

The seniors will be getting certificates of achievement for their participation in the Olympics. In addition to Gloucester’s, the other PACE sites participating are the four locations in Lynn and the Beverly center.

“These senior citizens have not let their limits or disabilities hold them back and they are ready to show their stuff,” said Carol Pallazolla, the PACE Education and Outreach Coordinator at the Gloucester center.

Anyone is welcome to go cheer on the group on today at Danvers Indoor Sports, Route 114 in Danvers. Events start at 10 a.m. and go until 2:30 p.m. with lunch served. RSVP at 781-715-6694 or email to info@pacenorthshore.org

PACE is a national program and is an acronym for “program of all-inclusive care for the elderly.”

Allegra Boverman is the chief photographer and a staff writer for the Gloucester Daily Times. She can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3448 and at aboverman@gloucestertimes.com

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