As Chinese communities around the world usher in the Year of the Pig, residents from Anchor Hanover estates have welcomed the Lunar New Year with celebrations and activities intended to ensure that the year ahead is a prosperous one.
From Sussex to Nottingham and Yorkshire to Kent, Anchor Hanover residents have decorated communal lounges with colourful lanterns, with many enjoying a Chinese feast to accompany the start of the seven-day long Spring Festival. In Runnymede Court, Nottingham, residents were also treated to a traditional Lion Dance performed by local group Mabo Lion Dance.
While traditional rituals, like dining on dumplings and fish, wearing red and setting off fireworks are in full flow some 5,000 miles away in Beijing, residents from Patching Lodge in Brighton kick started their festivities with a somewhat more relaxing session of tai chi. They were joined for the occasion by Anchor Hanover’s Chair, Dr Stuart Burgess.
Studies suggest that tai chi can help older people reduce stress, improve balance and general mobility. Characterised by low impact, graceful movements and accompanied by deep circular breathing, the ancient practice is often referred to as “moving meditation”.
Taking the class for the first time was 59–year–old Diane Wyatt who said: 'Keeping fit and healthy has been a strong focus of mine for some time, but if you had told me a few years ago that I would now be taking up martial arts I would have laughed!'
“The class was fantastic and it was great to join in with other residents. I’ve certainly stretched muscles I never knew I had.
Dr Stuart Burgess said: 'Finding new ways of improving the health and wellbeing of our residents is of paramount importance to Anchor Hanover.'
After the lesson, residents continued their celebrations with a traditional Chinese meal in the estate’s on-site restaurant, cooked up by the organisation’s Chef of the Year, Rob Kemp.
Having taken the lesson I can appreciate how something like tai chi can help increase people’s range of motion, improve their flexibility, and bring about better balance.