WINCHESTER, Calif., Aug. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- More than 600 senior veterans who improved their physical and mental capabilities years ago in boot camp will utilize the same skills as they prepare to compete in the 22nd annual Golden Age Games in Indianapolis, IN beginning on August 20. The games are the world's largest recreation and sporting competition for senior veterans providing "golden age" veterans with tremendous therapeutic benefits. Co-sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Help Hospitalized Veterans (HHV) and the Veterans Canteen Service (VCS), the Golden Age Games competitions are open to veterans age 55 or older who -- currently -- receive care at one of the VA medical facilities. The games are designed to improve the quality of life for older veterans by encouraging them to make physical activity a central part of their lives. "Staying active and healthy through sports and fitness is important to all our nation's veterans," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Dr. James B. Peake. "We are proud to offer the Golden Age Games as a premier sporting event for our senior veterans." The VA's National Rehabilitation Special Events program focuses on the importance of sports and fitness as a means of therapy. Physical activity and friendly competition engage the mind as well as the body and ensure a faster and more successful recovery. VA research and clinical experience verify the benefit of recreational therapy for the health, recovery and overall quality of life for older people. HHV's mission revolves around keeping veterans physically and mentally active. Its sponsorship of the Golden Age Games is based on the rehabilitative benefits this program provides to these veterans. For the same reason, HHV also co-sponsors the National Veteran's Creative Arts Festival and the VA's newest Special Event, the National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic. "After HHV's initial co-sponsorship of the games in 2007, we are extremely pleased to announce our continued support of this therapeutic program," said Mike Lynch, Executive Director of HHV. As a national co-sponsor, in just two years HHV has contributed more than $400,000 to this program. "We share a similar mission with the VA which is to improve the quality of life for veterans suffering from the physical and mental injuries of war through the use of a variety of therapeutic programs." HHV is focused on improving the recovery process of veterans by providing therapeutic arts and craft kits courtesy of their generous donors. Art therapy, like recreational therapy, is a proven means of rehabilitation for mental, emotional and physical handicaps that has the potential to dramatically impact a patient's outcome. Enabling patients to become involved in a satisfying, creative activity improves patient morale and makes them more responsive to treatment and easier to care for. A four year study conducted at 13 VA hospitals found that the craft kits enjoy "a 98.6% positive response" from veterans. The study, conducted by Health Care Data, Inc., concluded that of those veterans using the kits 48% demonstrated functional improvement, 45% had improved attention spans and 51% showed an improvement in overall motivation. Other HHV sponsored events and programs that are aimed at improving not only the physical rehabilitation of America's veterans, but improve their overall mental state of mind. Events such as the new National Veterans Summer Sports Clinic, the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, Re-Creation, USA, Bugles Across America and the Wounded Warrior Ministry in Landstuhl Germany. About HHV HHV was founded in April 1971 for the primary purpose of distributing therapeutic arts and crafts kits -- free of charge -- to our nation's veterans and active duty military personnel receiving treatment at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, military hospitals, and state veterans nursing homes. Through its direct mail campaigns, HHV strives to educate the public about the many ways they can become personally involved in providing additional care to patients receiving treatment at these facilities. For more information on HHV and the services it provides to our nation's veteran heroes, visit www.hhv.org.
SOURCE Help Hospitalized Veterans