Shoppers awed by oldies' flash mob

00:00, Jun 20 2014
SHE'S HAPPY: Cath Moody and a group of 22 other residents from Julia Wallace Retirement Village perform in a flash mob at The Plaza.

A group of energetic, grey-haired retirement village residents gave shoppers a happy surprise when they wiggled and shook their way through The Plaza shopping mall in Palmerston North.

After eight weeks of practice, 22 residents from the Julia Wallace Retirement Village did a flash mob performance to Pharrell Williams' hit song Happy ahead of the lunchtime rush in The Plaza food court yesterday.

Resident Stan Burden was the eldest of the bunch at 90. "I was a bit reluctant to do it at the start, but we have a lot of fun," he said.

The flash mob was organised as part of the Triple A programme run by Ryman Healthcare, which owns the retirement village.

Triple A, which stands for ageless, active and aware, is a twice-weekly exercise programme to encourage physical activity and promote independence and quality of life.

Mr Burden said he looked forward to the classes every week and definitely felt fitter.


Resident Cath Moody said the flash mob went too quickly and the group wanted to do it all again.

"We've just had so much fun doing it. We love the music and getting together and doing exercise."

Merle Garden agreed the performance was a lot of fun and the Triple A programme had been helpful.

"We made a few mistakes but we just laugh them off. It's been really beneficial over the years, it loosens up your joints and improves your balance and circulation, and we feel more energised."

Ryman Healthcare corporate affairs manager David King said the residents really enjoyed the dancing and exercise classes.

"They really get into it, it's just amazing.

"Usually people watch and then say they wish they can be that active in old age," he said.

"Dancing was a big thing when they were younger, they grew up going to dances, so they're real naturals."

Triple A programme manager Nicki Brown said regular exercise could help to ward off heart disease, dementia and other age-related illnesses.

"Over 2500 residents participate at least twice per week in Ryman villages nationwide. Our residents have realised the tremendous benefits the programme has provided and notice significant gains in their overall health and wellbeing," she said.

"There's a wealth of evidence that shows the more you exercise the healthier and more independent you will be in the long term."

Manawatu Standard