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How To Make Your Active Aging Community Fitness Program Stand Out Among Competitors

industry news Jul 08, 2019

The active aging population are desiring for more opportunities to be more active as they continue living longer lifespans. Without a great community fitness program in place, centers may be losing out on a booming market that continues to grow year after year. 

Elevation Corporate Health’s Partner, Angela Nichols, and Regional Director of Business Innovation, Micaela Robinson, recently spoke at the 2019 CALA (California Assisted Living Association) Spring Conference in Monterey Bay, California on this very topic. 

They share 3 strategies that can help enhance active aging community programs so that seniors continue to stay engaged, healthy, and happy. 

 

Focus on Fitness Center Design

 

Flooring:  When considering flooring options, pick something that is continuous, has depth and has a little give while remaining stable to walk on. We recommend rubberized rolled flooring in a light color to provide depth and to provide cushion for impact. Stay away from carpet, dark colors or tiles as these could increase tripping hazards or depth perception issues for members.

Equipment Selection:  When you have limited space for your fitness equipment, the type, brand and ease of use of the equipment makes a difference. Low profile cardio equipment with easy entrance is important. Strength equipment with as little adjustments as possible will be less intimidating for residents when walking in the fitness center. 

Equipment Flow: When placing equipment, it’s most important to put equipment that is less intimidating up front. Place cardio machines in the first line of sight. Using a treadmill is often less intimidating than trying to learn how to use a piece of strength equipment or dumbbells.  If you have onsite staffing, he or she should be available immediately when entering the facility. A friendly face is the best engagement tool.

Entertainment: Entertainment solutions should have special consideration. Overhead music should be provided when walking into the facility so that there is some comfort when entering, but not so loud that you have to yell over it when talking to someone. TV’s should be placed either on the cardio equipment or on the wall directly in front of each piece of equipment.  

 

Offer Fall Reduction Program and Assessments

There are many different fall reduction programs out there today, ranging from videos and one-on-one to group setting.  

To ensure your Fall Reduction program is safe and effective that increases your accountability with your members, it should include the following: 

 

  • Managed by a qualified and certified instructor that is trained to work with the active aging population. Our industry isn’t regulated and we highly recommend you working with a third party vendor to get your facility staffed. This takes the liability away from you and allows the third party to do what they do best. In doing so, it places an expert in the field in front of your members. 
  • Assessments are the baseline marker. For any fitness program, it is important to have an assessment in the beginning, middle and end of the program. This allows you to track progress and make progressions or regressions as needed based on your client. We encourage all clients we work with to go through assessments. 
  • Equipment orientations reduce the liability exposure. It teaches members how to use equipment properly and effectively. Make it fun! We suggest picking a new piece of equipment each week and tying a balloon to it. This highlights and calls attention to the piece of equipment so the trainer can walk each member through how to use it safely and properly. 
  • Accountability is huge! Having a trained professional in your fitness center will provide engagement for your members. 
  • The length of your program makes a difference. 4-8 weeks should be your target range. 4 weeks is still enough time to see results, but if you go beyond 8 weeks you may begin to lose people. 


Create Fun & Engaging Wellness and Event Programming 

Programming in your community is your engagement tool. Programs that are done right have the ability to make your community extremely successful and keep your members engaged in everyday offerings. 

Tip: provide social, wellness and movement based programming to reach a diverse group of individuals. 

Marketing for the senior demographic is different than marketing to millennials.  

 

Here are key concepts to think of: 

  • Know your demographics
  • Have easy to read font type, big font size, and dark colors
  • Have similar colors and feel for all marketing materials
  • Use relatable language
  • Keep in mind that their needs are different than younger generations 
  • Use multi-channel marketing (you typically can’t rely on social media)
  • Make things easy 

 

The key to programming in general is to make it fun, different, and unique to set your community apart from the next. 



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