Did you know that the World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world? Here are some statistics that we as Americans may not be aware of:

  • The most watched sporting event in the world is soccer (European football).
  • The 2006 World Cup final drew 716 million viewers, while the whole tournament attracted 30-plus billion non-unique viewers.
  • Around 600 million households watch the English Premier League (football) a week.
  • This past week in Chicago, more than 20,000 fans filled Grant Park to watch the U.S. team compete against Portugal.

Part of our responsibility as activity professionals is to help our residents stay as independent as possible. To do this we must continually reconnect our residents to the world around them. Right now, the World Cup is huge news. A creative activity professional can find a few ways to educate the residents on this event as well as participate in it.

  1. The first and obvious plan would be to show the games (starting with USA) and create a viewing event around it with some sporting and soccer decorations, snacks etc.
  2. How about playing the game? For $15-$20 you can purchase a small goal at Wal-Mart and have some shooting competitions with your residents, either individually or as teams.
  3. For residents with mobility challenges, I can recommend a variation of soccer played in chairs. Have your chairs or players situated in specific positions and while sitting down, your residents can pass the ball or shoot a goal in a small activity space while playing the game.
  4. Promoting lifelong learning is equally important and can layer into your World Cup programming by having a local coach come and present the rules and history of the game. Even staff may learn more about the intricacies of the game.

The World Cup gives us a chance to look at what is happening around us to spark creative ideas. Senior communities can adapt these current events to work in various settings and promote fun can create lasting impact for your residents.

Michael McCann, MS, is the director of lifestyles for Friendship Senior Options.