Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Emily Davenport

Recent Posts by Emily Davenport:

3 Programming Twists to Boost Fitness Center Participation

presentation groupRecruiting residents to participate in your community fitness offerings can be a challenge. Most communities offer a variety of standard services, classes, and programs to try to regularly engage their residents. Whether you are wanting to recruit new residents or spark some enthusiasm for your regulars, read on to learn about three nontraditional programming ideas that can help boost participation in your community fitness offerings.

Fashion Show – Yes that’s right, I said a fashion show. Many residents show up to exercise in their normal clothes (dress slacks, button-down shirts and all)! While this is OK for some modes of activity, educating residents on the importance of exercising in appropriate active wear, including proper footwear, can be inspiring and quite helpful for some individuals. Contact a local boutique with active wear apparel and host a fashion show at your community while providing residents with an option to purchase what they are seeing. You could work with the boutique to allow your residents to be the models so residents can see firsthand that exercise apparel can be fashionable, comfortable, and appropriate for older adults. Don’t forget about swimwear! Many older adults shy away from participating in pool programming because of not having purchased a swimsuit in perhaps decades. Bring the suits, water shoes, etc., to your fashion show and remove this barrier for your residents!

Philanthropic Program – Let’s face it, it can be a challenge to come up with prize ideas for residents to recognize their efforts in incentive programs that will truly get them excited. While older adults recognize the importance of physical activity for their own vitality, finding ways to ignite enthusiasm into their workout is still important to keep things fresh and fun. Connect a fitness program with a philanthropic approach instead of a traditional prizes like water bottles, t-shirts, or pedometers. Establish a community goal that if residents come together to achieve X minutes of walking or attend X number of group exercise classes in a month, the community will make a monetary donation to a local charitable organization. You could even include a canned food donation requirement as an entry fee to your group exercise classes for the month. Chart the residents’ progress through the month so they can see how they are doing and they can recruit their friends and neighbors to participate.

Educational Lectures – Well qualified fitness staff with an educational background in health and fitness can contribute more to resident wellness than exercise instruction alone. Tap into this educational background and recruit your fitness staff to share their expertise and educate residents on a variety of health and wellness topics on a regular basis. This can help some residents begin engaging with the fitness staff in a way they may otherwise never do if avoiding the fitness center. When your fitness staff can demonstrate that they are knowledgeable about various health conditions or other resident interests, they can begin building trust and relationships that will hopefully translate into engaging that resident in the appropriate fitness services for their needs.

Find out more about how NIFS provides these ideas and others through wellness consulting at senior living communities.  Or, check out how one client uses NIFS wellness consulting for better marketing outcomes in her communities.

 

Topics: active aging nifs fitness management senior center solutions program planning

Benefits of Tracking Participation Data in Community Fitness Programs

senior living fitnessYou're senior living community is missing out on some important benefits if you don't have detailed data from your fitness program.  Read on to find out what you stand to gain by getting smarter about gathering and using data from resident participation in the fitness center and group exercise classes as well as evaluating resident participation in fitness center appointments and services.

Before we jump into benefits for the community, the fitness program, and the residents, we should note that the most common obstacle for communities digging into data is having a dedicated point person who can regularly support this effort on an ongoing basis.  While tracking this data is not rocket science, it has to become part of the fabric of your fitness program in order to be effective.  Certainly, a full system for this type of effort is part of what we bring to the clients we serve.   

[Related Content: Find out more about NIFS Staffing Services]

Benefits to the Community

Although it can be a challenge to determine the return on investment your fitness program is lending to your community, regularly tracking participation levels and establishing target goals for the program can provide solid stories that your marketing department can use to attract prospects. As you embark on setting up a data collections system with your fitness center staff, pull in your marketing team to find out what they think might be most helpful for their campaigns to reach out to prospective residents.  

For example, marketing can share with prospects and their families that XX% of the resident population are active participants in the fitness program or that XX number of residents regularly attend your community balance class. This hard data puts a backbone behind the legitimacy of your program for marketing to work with beyond the more common and generic messaging like this: “We have a lot of residents who come to our fitness center and balance class is their favorite!”

[Related Content: See what one of our Annual Reports looks like for a NIFS client]

Benefits for Fitness Staff

Ready…aim…fire! Without regular participation data to evaluate when deciding on your next fitness program, you may as well step up to pull the trigger and go straight from “ready” to “fire” without an opportunity to aim. The aim should involve looking at ebbs and flows in visits to the fitness center or participation levels in classes and creating targeted programs to increase the number and frequency of participants. Without the opportunity to aim, it will be more difficult to anticipate your residents’ needs.

Even worse, don’t keep a poorly attended program running just because you’ve always offered it. I guarantee you have at least one class on your monthly calendar in which participation has trickled off in recent months or even years. You may be saying to yourself, “Yes, but those three participants still really enjoy the class.” While that may be true, you may be neglecting a dozen more residents who have a desire for a different class while you are pouring resources into a sinking ship. Allow participation data to be a free resource to advance your community fitness program by allowing your staff to aim toward meaningful goals and hopefully more effective programs.

Benefits for Residents

The greatest benefit of all from tracking participation is how it can better serve the residents of your community! Everything that was stated in the previous section on benefiting the staff will of course carry over to benefit the residents through more meaningful program options. By tracking participation data, your fitness staff will be able to further evaluate who is coming to different classes or visiting the fitness center and how often they are doing so…and conversely, who is not! This is truly where relationships are made between the fitness staff and residents!

For example, the fitness staff will have the ability to note whether a three time per week balance class participant suddenly isn’t coming. A follow-up phone call to a resident noting their absence and welcoming them back makes a huge impact in resident adherence and satisfaction. Furthermore, targeted membership campaigns can be tailored to attract residents not currently participating in the program. Without the data to regularly report who is coming to what and when, these outreach efforts to residents would not be possible in a strategic and effective manner.

***

We can help your community get started developing these data practices through NIFS consulting services.  Click the link below to find out more about this cost effective and impactful offering.

find out more about consulting

 

Topics: senior fitness management CCRC fitness center ROI participation data collection

Proven Strategies for Building a World-Class Senior Wellness Program

senior livingPart 2: Eight Strategies to Bring About Successful Collaboration

In Part 1, I talked about the importance of setting aside power grabs and tapping into the skill sets of a variety of community personnel to establish a well-rounded wellness program for residents. Read on to discover a variety of ways your community leaders can work together to deliver best-in-class wellness programming to your residents.

Therapy Department:

1: A formal bridge program should be established between your community therapy and fitness departments to help residents transition from therapy to fitness and vice versa. Residents should feel supported in the collaboration that occurs between these two departments as their needs change.

2: Fall prevention and screening services can be offered through either department, but why not take a unified approach? Coordinate fall-prevention programs, lectures, health fairs, etc., and allow your therapy and fitness personnel to work side by side in addressing the variety of resident needs.

Activities Department:

3: As special trips or events are planned for residents, activities personnel can sit down with the fitness and therapy teams to discuss the demands that will be placed on the residents for said activity. Allow your fitness and therapy personnel to promote the upcoming event and develop educational opportunities or training programs to help residents prepare. For example, if residents are going on a trip to a historical destination where they will be walking on cobblestone or brick sidewalks, programs could be offered to help them prepare for extended walking on the terrain, or a discussion on the importance of proper footwear, cane use, and more could be provided.

4: As fitness classes or programs are coordinated and room reservations need to be made, help show your residents that physical well-being is a priority by making rooms and promotional space on calendars and newsletters available to market these programs. After all, if you are going to regularly advertise Tuesday Afternoon Bridge Group on the calendar, why wouldn’t you equally advertise the Tuesday Morning Gentle Yoga Class?

Dining Services Department:

5: Coordinate healthy cooking demonstrations for residents to help them learn how to order healthy selections in the dining room and then sample those healthy options at the demo.

6: You likely provide refreshments to residents at a variety of events. Consider serving cookies and punch as occasional treats and making healthy and engaging options for residents to enjoy. Allow them to create healthy smoothies or yogurt parfaits or create a DIY trail-mix bar with healthy options as you offer an afternoon seminar. Have members of your dining services team present so residents can better connect the healthy options flowing from that department with the educational lecture they are about to hear.

Resident Health Services Department:

7: Fitness and health services staff could coordinate their weekly free blood pressure screenings to occur right outside the doors of where a well-attended group exercise class takes place. This may help capture more participants in this service and it may bring more awareness to the group exercise class by other residents simply looking to take advantage of the free screening.

8: If you have underutilized services available through your health services department such as home health care, medication assistance, and so on, speak with your activities personnel about doing a monthly highlight of the services in the newsletter or in a presentation. It’s often that residents don’t understand or don’t realize that a service is available to them more so than not being interested. Find opportunities to spread the message.

You’ll notice that fitness isn’t included as its own separate header because it is already represented by collaborating with the other departments in the list. This remains NIFS’s philosophy on resident wellness programming. It’s how we support wellness for our clients, and we’ve found it to be an effective model that serves well the needs of current residents as well as contributes positively to community occupancy and viability in the marketplace.

Want to learn more about how to build those key elements in your community? Join us for our Build Vitality webinar series.

Topics: nifs fitness management NIFS senior wellness programs senior fitness management CCRC fitness center wellness brand for senior living

Proven Strategies for Building a World-Class Senior Wellness Program

senior wellnessPart 1: Who Should Be Contributing to Resident Wellness?

There are many interpretations of what a community “wellness program” should be, and to be fair, many interpretations are quite valid. We’re not saying one size fits all; quite the contrary. What we are saying is that there are multiple VALID interpretations of resident wellness and making your community aware of the potential variety (pulling away from “this is what we’ve always done”) will be beneficial for all. Tap into the unique skill sets of your community personnel to cultivate a harmonious and healthy lifestyle for your residents.

For example, resident health services and therapy departments may perceive clinical programs such as health metrics screenings or gait analysis as wellness programming. Your activities personnel may perceive socialization and educational seminars as a wellness program, whereas your community fitness personnel perceive prevention programming such as balance training and healthy eating as wellness. The answer to which of these options is truly a wellness program is “all of the above”—if they are executed effectively with a collaborative approach to promote resident well-being.

Oftentimes there are power grabs at play among community personnel on who is offering wellness or who should be involved in certain types of programming. We’ve written about silos and power grabs before. A well-rounded wellness program cannot truly exist until these power grabs are set aside and everyone learns to contribute to the greater good of resident care and well-being as a team. After all, how long will a resident truly be successful upon discharge from therapy services if they don’t have the support of fitness programming to continue their progress? Or what good is an educational lecture on the importance of managing your blood pressure as coordinated by your activities personnel if health screenings and clinical support are not available?

The needs and expectations of today’s residents are too dynamic and unique to have a “wellness program” facilitated through the vision of one department or one individual. To best serve the needs of residents, all departments should be contributing their own skill sets under a central mission for improving resident well-being.

In doing so, your community will be able touch on many different dimensions of wellness from one department to the next without placing the entire programming burden on one or two individuals. In turn, the scope of possibilities in programming is not as limited and a current of wellness-based lifestyle programs and options will flow from one department to the next. If you were to remove one of these departments, it would likely create a gap in your program. This collaboration can demonstrate to existing and prospective residents that individual agendas and power grabs are not the priority at your community, but improved resident well-being through collaboration is!

You won’t want to miss part 2 of this blog, in which we look into eight specific examples of where your key community players can contribute to well-rounded wellness programming.

Topics: NIFS senior wellness programs senior fitness management CCRC fitness center wellness brand for senior living

Two New NIFS Clients with Two Different Service Angles

Active Aging LogoNIFS was thrilled to begin fitness management services at two new retirement community client sites in April. Furthermore, we were honored to be able to tailor our staffing services for the unique needs of each location. Community fitness and wellness programs can’t be addressed with a cookie-cutter approach. Read on to learn how NIFS is supporting the unique needs of each location and their residents.

Peabody: 20-Hour-per-Week Fitness Manager

Peabody is a CCRC in North Manchester, Indiana. Although Peabody did not have a fitness center for its residents until the grand opening of the brand new Billie Jean Strauss Wellness Center in April, NIFS has been supporting this community since early 2012 through consulting and equipment recommendations. NIFS provided recommendations for the fitness center and aerobics studio, including everything from treadmills to strength equipment to balance-training tools and space layouts. When the build was complete, NIFS was able to support the equipment installation and helped the community prepare for the grand opening celebration.

Because Peabody residents are not accustomed to exercising in an onsite fitness center or having group fitness class options in an aerobics studio, the community began staffing services at 20 hours per week with a NIFS Fitness Manager. As NIFS’s best-in-class fitness programming sparks resident engagement and enthusiasm, they anticipate growing the manager position to full-time to add more opportunities and services for residents. So far the launch of the program has been a great success and residents have been very eager to learn about the new equipment and program. NIFS is excited to expand the possibilities for Peabody residents and grow with the community.

Sandhill Cove: 40 Hour-per-Week Wellness Director

Sandhill Cove is a CCRC in Palm City, Florida. The community has a fitness center, pool, and contracted group fitness and personal training services. NIFS visited the community for a consulting arrangement in the fall of 2012 and provided a variety of recommendations to unify their program offerings in creating a stronger wellness brand. Following those recommendations, community leadership felt that NIFS could best lead this movement for the community and began staffing services with a full-time NIFS Waterfront Wellness Director.

The community had strong elements of a wellness program in place for its residents. The Wellness Director will be leading the initiative at the community and helping to pull in the various programs, services, and personnel under a unified vision for the program. In addition, the Wellness Director will be providing NIFS’s traditional best-in-class fitness programming and management services.

NIFS launched at the community in early April and we are thrilled with the progress made with increasing resident awareness of new and existing services available at the community and with the turnout at the Waterfront Wellness Open House. Residents received a passport to guide them on a tour of different booths. The booths highlighted different programs and service offerings around the community and educated participants on the different dimensions of wellness. Eighty-nine percent of residents who participated in the event submitted a completed passport indicating that they visited every booth. This was a great first step in helping residents identify the various programs and service offerings available at Sandhill Cove under the Waterfront Wellness Program.

Download NIFS Benefits of Staffing Webinar

Topics: NIFS senior center solutions senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior fitness

Evaluating Your Retirement Community Fitness Program

active seniorYou likely receive feedback from residents on how much they enjoy certain group fitness classes or instructors, or perhaps the NuStep in the fitness center. You hear it in passing comments like, “Don’t get rid of the yoga instructor,” or “We need another NuStep.” Those comments provide great feedback as part of your overall assessment of the fitness program. But beyond those individual preferences, how do you measure the true value of your community fitness program and what it lends to your resident population as well as to your community’s marketing potential?

Cater to the All Potential Participants

Your lifelong exercisers will likely find opportunities that they enjoy no matter how much or how little your community is able to offer. Positive feedback from these select participants doesn’t mean that your program is making the grade for your resident population as a whole. There is likely an untapped audience in your community and creative programming plus personal touches can help draw those less active residents into the fitness center and/or classes. This is definitely an area of strength for us. Our clients quickly see the benefits of a partnership with NIFS when we can show them exactly who is participating in our programming.  

Measuring the Effectiveness of Your Fitness Program

So that begs the question: Do you know what percentage of your residents participate in group fitness classes or uses the fitness center from month to month? Which classes are the most popular or which pieces of equipment are most frequently used? Have your residents shared why this is the case? If you can’t answer all or some of these questions, that likely means your community fitness offerings could benefit from a more solid foundation to evaluate participation and resident interests.

Consider these simple steps your community can take to begin measuring the effectiveness of your program:

  1. Utilization of your fitness center and participation in group fitness classes should be tracked daily and reported on a regular basis. Communities can determine the information they would like to evaluate and implement tracking methods for their fitness staff and residents. We find that residents take to simple sign-in sheets fairly easily and fitness staff and group fitness instructors can provide friendly reminders to residents to sign in. Providing a structured memberhsip process is a good starting point to clearly track who is and is not participating.
  2. Conduct annual surveys to gather direct resident feedback to rate the overall quality of existing classes, instructors, programs, and services. Learn from the resident population as a whole (don’t just send the survey to active participants) about additional programs that they would like to see or ask them to share why they aren’t currently participating. After processing the results, develop an action plan to follow up with individual residents or on general program improvements to continually evolve the program and hopefully engage more participants.
  3. Your fit and active crowd will likely be the most vocal about the types of equipment they would like to see or group classes they would like to try. However, it is important to regularly evaluate the full scope of programing including balance in class offerings, available equipment, and scheduled programs focused on fitness. Residents of all ability levels should have exercise options in the fitness center as well as group exercise classes for their specific needs. It’s fine for instructors to provide modifications for residents of all ability levels in classes, but it’s important for lower-functioning participants to feel like they have options all their own and that they aren’t simply being condescended to in a group of more able-bodied residents.

Taking these simple steps can help improve resident satisfaction in your community fitness offerings. It will also provide more concrete talking points for your marketing department when speaking with prospective residents. Important program metrics coupled with powerful and personal success stories speak volumes to prospects who are trying to gain an understanding of what their lives can be like if they move into your community.  

CCRC Fitness Center Marketing

Topics: senior center solutions senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior fitness marketing program evaluation

My Story... Residents Benefit from NIFS Top Notch Fitness Program

My Story, NIFS Members SpeakAccording to a recent survey by the International Council on Active Aging, “Although 78% of retirement communities and senior centers have on-site fitness facilities, the survey found that most ICAA members feel their staff lacks the appropriate skill set to deliver safe, relevant and effective exercise programs to an active aging population.” Given this statistic, NIFS is proud to share this resident testimonial praising our onsite fitness manager Reggie Porter and the fitness program at Park Springs in Stone Mountain, Georgia. NIFS is pleased to bring such well qualified personnel to the members of Park Springs and all of our active aging communities across the US.  

Read their blog: Members Benefit from Park Springs Top Notch Fitness Program

Click me

 

How to Develop Successful Group Fitness Classes in Senior Living

active aging group fitnessJust as it is important to establish appropriate hiring criteria for Group Fitness Instructors (GFIs) at Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs), its equally important to routinely evaluate the performance of GFIs and the group fitness offerings to residents.

The challenge to this evaluation is to establish the community personnel qualified to complete these evaluations. If your community has a qualified fitness professional, it’s a no-brainer that this individual can ensure that GFIs have the appropriate qualifications and can regularly evaluate their instruction. If your community does not have a qualified fitness professional, it can be a challenge to find the right personnel to fill this role. In either case, steps should be taken to ensure the safety of participating residents.

Evaluating the Senior Fitness Instructor

Evaluating an instructor can be accomplished in a variety of ways. Simply observing the class and taking notes on the questions in the following list can be a decent starting point, although a traditional graded model rating the instructor’s performance is ideal. Rating his or her performance is a real challenge for a layperson who doesn’t know what to look for. Even these questions might be too much of a stretch. This may lend significant weight to a community’s decision to hire a qualified fitness professional to oversee its fitness center and group exercise program. If community personnel can’t observe the following qualities in an existing instructor, how can they feel qualified to hire a new GFI? This may be placing your community personnel in a difficult position and not holding your community’s fitness offerings to a high enough standard.

  1. Are they providing a proper warm-up and cool-down for participants?
  2. Are they providing modifications to exercises to better challenge residents who are more advanced or to provide a safe exercise for residents who need an option at a lesser intensity?
  3. Are residents able to follow the cueing the instructor provides? Is the instructor providing additional cueing for residents to correct their form throughout the class?
  4. Is the instructor receptive to the needs of the class (for example, when it’s time to take a break, transition to seated exercises, get a drink of water, etc.)?
  5. Do the participants appear engaged and challenged by what they are doing, or do they need additional stimulation in the class?

Evaluating the Group Fitness Class Offerings

While it’s important to make sure the instructors are meeting resident needs, it’s also important to regularly evaluate the class formats and schedule for your group fitness program. Classes often evolve as participants progress and provide their feedback to instructors on their likes and dislikes. This gradual evolution may result in a completely different type of class from what it was at its inception. Review your current schedule at least once a year and consider the following:

  1. Are there class options for residents of all ability levels spanning from the lower-functioning participants to residents who may need a challenge from a higher-intensity class? (As existing classes evolve and residents progress, make sure that a moderate-level class that welcomes beginners actually hasn’t become too advanced.)
  2. Is there structure provided to the way classes are scheduled? For example, strength and conditioning classes should not be held on back-to-back days, and folding all of the group fitness offerings into a Tuesday-Thursday or Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule will not promote maximum resident engagement.
  3. Do you have cardio, strength training, balance training, flexibility training, and spiritual elements within your class schedule?

Using these questions as a starting point will help you evaluate your group fitness instructors and programs to ensure that they are offering the best experience to your residents.

Quick Tip to Strengthen Your Community Exercise Program

 

 

Topics: group exercise senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior fitness

Balance Programs: Are You Meeting Your Residents’ Needs?

Many communities offer balance training to their residents simply as a component of a group fitness class on the activities schedule. I’m here to tell you that is not enough! Residents need an opportunity for group classes solely dedicated to balance training, as well as balance assessments, equipment, and workouts in their community fitness centers.

Comprehensive balance training programming is often an early success when NIFS begins staffing a fitness center at retirement communities. We’ve been able to engage many residents in the fitness program who previously wouldn’t buy into other modes of physical activity, but they are chomping at the bit to participate in balance training opportunities that can decrease their risk of falls and improve their confidence. Doing so is sometimes a “gateway activity” to help residents recognize their abilities. After building that initial confidence, they experiment with a NuStep or a chair aerobics class. We’ve all got to start somewhere!

NIFS’ Balance Challenge ProgramNIFS Balance Challenge

To promote existing balance training programs at our CCRCs, NIFS will hold its inaugural Balance Challenge in March. The Balance Challenge program encompasses different elements of our regularly offered balance training programs and services as well as a few new opportunities for residents. Participants will track their activity on a scorecard and will be required to participate in group classes, educational lectures, assessments, fitness center workouts, obstacle courses, and much more to complete the Challenge. The program is designed with activity options for residents of varying ability levels so it can be marketed to someone new to the fitness program looking to get into a routine, or for seasoned participants to further hone their skills.

All participants in the Challenge will complete a Fullerton Advanced Balance Scale test as well as a pre- and post-program survey in which they will rate their current balance skills and confidence levels. In future programs, we hope to see that our participants are maintaining or improving their balance abilities as well as their confidence levels through engaging in not only the month-long Challenge, but also throughout the year in regularly scheduled programs. (Consider the marketing advantages for a community with data of this nature to back up the effectiveness of your balance programs!)

Things to Consider When Starting a CCRC Balance Program

Here are a few key considerations when launching a comprehensive balance program for your residents:

  • Who is qualified to lead these types of classes and services for your residents?
  • How will you track the impact the program is having on your residents’ functional abilities and how will you utilize that information?
  • How can you utilize resident volunteers to act as your balance champions to demonstrate exercises, provide testimonials, etc., on the effectiveness of the program? (Residents seeing their peers demonstrate exercises may help them get over any fears of participating.)
  • How can you partner with your community therapy department in balance program offerings?

Whether your community already has a variety of balance training opportunities, or you are looking to launch some new initiatives, consider how a comprehensive program can help spark enthusiasm in your residents!

Senior Fitness, teaching balance
Topics: senior wellness programs senior fitness management balance senior fitness balance training

3 Must-Haves in Group Fitness Instructors for CCRCs

considerations for hiring group fitness instructorsMany Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) offer a variety of group fitness classes to their residents. The community personnel who hire the group fitness instructors (GFIs) may benefit from a few pointers on hiring standards beyond someone’s personality alone. Don’t get me wrong, the right personality and ability to build relationships with residents is crucial for making a class successful. However, a narrow focus on personality alone may not provide your residents with the maximum benefits of participating in the activity and could create a dangerous environment.

Certifications and Insurance

To protect participants in group exercise classes (whether in commercial gym, church, school, or CCRC settings), fitness industry standards require that GFIs maintain current instruction certifications and CPR/AED certifications. Contracted GFIs should also carry proof of personal liability insurance. Well-qualified GFIs are aware of these standards and likely would not be in the practice of instructing without maintaining those certifications. For community personnel hiring these individuals, that may be your first sign. If someone applies for the position and cannot provide proof of current certifications and liability insurance, they likely aren’t the best fit for meeting the fitness program standards for your community.

Furthermore, communities should make sure that they are maintaining current copies of certifications from their existing GFI staff. If you find that existing instructors do not have current certifications, it’s likely time to establish a timeline within which your GFIs can obtain a certification to continue with their instruction.

Experience in Senior Fitness

It’s also important to make sure that GFIs have experience teaching an older-adult population. When looking for an instructor, you might contact local senior centers, churches, or YMCAs and share information about your opening and provide the requirements and qualifications you are looking for in a GFI. This may provide you with a better candidate pool than having to sift through GFIs who teach boot camp, kettlebell, or kickboxing-type classes.

Personality

Looking at certifications and experience instructing older adults is the best starting point when looking for a GFI. However, as previously mentioned, the personality of the GFI is also critical for the overall enjoyment of the participants. When replacing an instructor or recruiting an instructor for a new class format, you might consider surveying your residents on their desired qualities in an instructor and in a class.

For example, if you are searching for a yoga instructor, residents may have feedback on enjoying the relaxation benefits of the class. This could allow you to question candidates on elements of relaxation they build into their class. While you may not have the expertise to recognize the specific details on the relaxation elements they are discussing, you should be able to gather feedback on their style of instruction: Is it soothing, focusing on breathing and guided imagery and providing a sense of calming for participants? Or does the instructor focus on deep stretching or strengthening throughout the class?

Establishing standards for GFIs in your group fitness program can benefit more than just your residents. Sharing these standards with prospective residents can be a great marketing tool to promote the dedication and focus your community places on its wellness programming.  

 Watch Resident Testimonials

Topics: group exercise senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior fitness yoga