No Escaping a Good Time for Residents at Sedgebrook

  • Sedgebrook residents Jean Vanderlinde, John Kanya and Gerry Murrow hold the key to one of three puzzles they solved in an escape room during Active Aging week last month.

    Sedgebrook residents Jean Vanderlinde, John Kanya and Gerry Murrow hold the key to one of three puzzles they solved in an escape room during Active Aging week last month.

Updated 10/19/2017 12:02 PM

Tim Parrott, fitness specialist at Sedgebrook senior living community in Lincolnshire, brought an activity to older adults he'd first done at a bachelor party. As part of Sedgebrook's Active Aging week last month, an initiative of the National Institute for Fitness and Sport (NIFS), an escape room staged in Sedgebrook's fitness center challenged seniors to solve three puzzles in quest of three keys that would figuratively let them out of the room.

In four groups of three, 12 seniors collaborated to solve the puzzles of Parrott's own design, including finding something that goes "pop" (a hidden balloon held the first key); finding a map that led to a sudoku puzzle, the corner numbers being the combination to a safe holding the second key; and a riddle with hints that led to a clock holding the third key. Residents were allowed 20 minutes to solve each puzzle.


Before the event, the escape room challenge was tested on staff members, with Parrott and Sedgebrook fitness manager Ruth Reyna making sure they were on the right track. Deemed by staff to be too easy, the puzzles were adjusted to require more mental effort. Still, residents deciphered the first within 10 minutes, though sudoku proved to be trickier.

"It was a blast," said Parrott of the "newest craze" that was a first for all seniors involved. "They really enjoyed the social aspect of working together to figure out the puzzles. Sometimes the challenges didn't always go quite the way I thought, but in a good way!" Regardless, added Parrott, "It's so important for people, seniors especially, to be challenged to think in different ways."

The escape room was one of several Active Aging events at Sedgebrook throughout the week.

An activities fair coordinated by the resident life department resembled a college fair, according to the 23-year-old Parrott, with various resident-led stations showcasing all there is to do at Sedgebrook. A "Mingle Bingo" game drew residents closer by way of game sheets marked with life experiences and personal characteristics. "You'd be amazed how many have seen Elvis live!" said Parrott.

Physical activity was highlighted with an Alzheimer's memory walk and a menu of exercise selections in the fitness center. "We wanted to encourage people who are in a good routine to keep it up and get those who don't usually come into the fitness center to do so more often," Parrott said.

With Sedgebrook's "Spooky Fest" coming October 22, an escape room will be back by popular demand, this time with a Halloween theme. While the details are not all worked out just yet, Parrott is considering a murder mystery. Given the overwhelmingly positive response from residents to the first experience, they should be up for the challenge.

Sedgebrook is a Life Plan Community offering a diverse lifestyle, maintenance-free living and outstanding amenities. Five-star rated Radford Green Health Care and Rehabilitation is located on the 72-acre Sedgebrook campus in Lincolnshire, Illinois. Sedgebrook is a Senior Care Development, LLC affiliated community and managed by Life Care Services LLC®. For additional information visit or call 847-901-3319.

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