Aging Gracefully

Now it is time to create a buzz by reaching out to local newspapers. Many departments utilize the community’s information officer or marketing department to use the city’s website, water bill inserts, or local cable channel. Post flyers around the center, at the library and city hall, and send email blasts about upcoming programs. A social medium like Facebook is a growing interest among older adults, and a great way to reach a large number of people in a short period of time. Don’t forget to post the results of each program in the local paper; people love to see their name next to a great accomplishment. 

Ask For Feedback

The program will evolve over time, and can be as flexible as you wish to make it. Make room for new ideas presented by staff members and program participants. Hosting quarterly meetings helps to receive positive feedback and affirm that the program is accomplishing its goals. Reach out to participants for testimonials; you will be surprised how the program will affect individuals. Although a health-and-wellness plan is valuable, the investment is minimal. Volunteers can create and assist in carrying out the program. Reach out to local organizations to provide educational opportunities as well as sponsorships. Lastly, engage staff members–their buying into the program is the key to its success.

Laci McKinney is the manager of the Senior and Community Center for the city of Coppell Parks and Recreation in Texas. Reach her via email at


A Step In The Right Direction

Physical challenges are very popular for those with a competitive spirit. Try the 10,000 Steps-A-Day Challenge, to be completed over one month. Participants are asked to wear a pedometer morning,noon, and night and anytime they are engaging in physical activity, such as walking, gardening, grocery shopping, or Wii Bowling. The goal is to achieve 10,000 steps a day, believed to burn between 2,000 and 3,500 extra calories a week. This challenge encourages all to be more physically active and can occur inside or outside of a gym.

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One comment on “Aging Gracefully

  1. Bud Cosgrove on said:

    Good article.
    I am currently the Director of Senior Wellness and Special Needs Programs at the SPORTSET Health and Fitness Club in Rockville Centre, NY 11570.

    One of the biggest challenges to recruiting and retaining senior men and women to engage in regular physical activities is convincing them that the values of exercise far out weight not exercising, and that they must realize that a lifestyle change for lifetime wellness is absolutely necessary.

    We have discovered two important motivational strategies that are working very effectively in our club:

    1. We have established a strong relationship with our local medical facilities, and we provide post cardiac, orthopedic and other post rehab issue exercise programs to those patients who are referred to our programs from our local hospitals and medical practitioners. Our post rehab members have been repaired by their doctors, and realize without question, that they must now continue and improve upon their exercise programs, literally, for the rest of their live. Once we have assessed their condition, and conferred with their doctors and therapists, they are then provided with a personalized exercise program that includes individual training as well as group exercise programs. They are encouraged to expand their participation in our club on their own as well as under the supervision of a certified personal instructor or exercise group instructor.

    Critical to enhancing the adherence to their program is the social networking they get to do with other members who have come off of a post op/rehab program. The ability to meet others who have and/or are experiencing the same feelings and perhaps the same uneasiness in starting an exercise programs is a strong source of support during this early, very fragile, time as they start their exercise program

    Finally, the post rehab members once their personal exercise needs are determine are intergrated into the general exercise class with our regular members.

    So far our program has been in existence for the past twelve years and the retention rate of our members has been the highest in our club. Our senior/special needs members now number over three hundred and growing steadily.

    Post rehab fitness is a trend your cannot ignore. While much of the post rehab fitness takes place in the medical facilities and offices of the doctors who perform the procedures, there is a growing market to provide post rehab fitness programs in our local health clubs, recreation centers etc. The trend signs are there, and the demographics confirm it.

    2. A second trend that can bring new senior members to your facilities is to start a Fall Prevention program. The horrific statistics associated with older adults who fall and sustain serious injuries and even death are very disturbing. We here at SPORTSET have been providing comprehensive fall prevention education, balance, agility and flexibility programs all designed to help prevent and/or mitigate the impact of falls. Also, as a public service to our community Sportset provides offsite presentations and demonstrations on Fall Prevention to local organizations. In addition to providing valuable information to the members of these organizations, a number of their members will seek out the on-going programs at Sportset thus adding to our membership base.

    In both of these two examples there is a very important social/economical trend that we all have to recognize, and be ready to respond to the demands that certainly will be forthcoming. This trend is the emergence of the Baby-boomer” generation into their senior years. This population cohort number 73 million men and women born between 1945 and 1964. They are now into their senior years and are and will continue to need a wide range of health, wellness and fitness services. The potential market for health clubs, recreation departments, etc in huge and should be taken seriously.

    Bud Cosgrove, MA, CPT
    Director of Senior Wellness/ Special Needs Programs
    Sportset Health and Fitness Club
    60 Maple Ave.
    Rockville Centre, NY 11570
    (516) 536-8700

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