Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Additional Resources for Enhancing Your Fitness Program

In parts I and II of this blog series, I discussed why it’s important to cultivate a robust health and fitness program for residents in AL and memory-care environments and how to tap into your existing personnel to make that happen. Perhaps this has already sparked some conversations and goal setting for your community in 2017. If you haven’t done so, consider sharing this blog series with your marketing and sales team.  Get their insights on the value of expanded fitness programming for residents living in AL and memory care.  Or, consider surveying your new residents with pointed questions on their health and fitness goals.  Use all of that feedback to figure out whether you have the existing tools and resources in place to support their goals.

FullSizeR.jpgIn this final blog of the series, I’m going to cover a few additional resources for enhancing your fitness program. 

  • Consider how you can have a more inclusive environment in your IL fitness amenities: Can you establish criteria or resident support tools to invite AL or memory-care residents to use the existing exercise equipment in the fitness center or partake in group exercise classes with IL residents?
  • Develop a fitness space: Whether it is sectioning off a small corner of an existing activity or lounge space or building out an entire room for fitness equipment, having a dedicated fitness space or studio can be a great option for residents of all ability levels.
  • Dedicate a variety of exercise equipment options: It’s time to put down the pool noodles and the beach balls. There are a number of small fitness equipment pieces on the market that can create new challenges and variety in group exercise classes.
  • Consider qualified staff: The demand for quality fitness offerings for older adults has steadily increased in the past decade and therefore there are more and more qualified fitness staff on the market who have experience catering to the unique needs of older adults. Working with a staffing partner like NIFS or hiring your own fitness professional to support your residents’ health and fitness needs even in a part-time capacity can be a significant enhancement to your program.

Through the course of this blog series, I’ve highlighted a variety of opportunities to enhance your fitness offerings for AL and memory-care residents.  While having qualified, fitness staff can be a difference maker, there is quite a bit that existing Activities staff can do to improve exercise offerings. With that being said, you already have a full plate of responsibilities to serve your residents and pausing to develop a strategy for doing fitness better might be a challenge. If you’re ready to improve your fitness program for residents in assisted living and memory care environments, register for our workshop and let us help you.

NIFS Workshop: Register Now

At NIFS Workshop on March 7, we will discuss key qualifications to look for in vetting qualified fitness professionals as well as discussing specific equipment recommendations you could consider for your community. We will also break down how to implement the highlighted opportunities I’ve discussed in this blog series in a phased and step by step approach. This will provide clear action steps for communities to implement new opportunities at whatever pace is comfortable for them now and in the future. Please visit here for more information about the specific learning objectives about the workshop and how to register!

Topics: memory care assisted living NIFS Workshop exercise through the continuums

Exercise Through the Continuums: Determine what you could be doing?

ThinkstockPhotos-116356163.jpgActivities Directors in assisted living and memory care environments are busy.  They have a lot of balls in the air, not the least of which is some type of movement-based programming for their residents.  Unfortunately, that specific element of their enrichment programming often takes a back seat to other priorities.

In a previous blog, I offered questions for leadership in assisted living and memory care environments to help them give new attention to what fitness options might be missing for their residents in assisted living and memory care environments.  As we carry those questions forward and consider how to provide more comprehensive exercise classes and services, it’s easy halt progress because you’re overwhelmed by limits.  After all, resources, like staffing, are often in short supply; and when you don’t have the people to pull off an excellent program, it becomes daunting to even consider a change. 

At our upcoming workshop for senior living activity directors on March 7, 2017, we’ll discuss opportunities to piece existing resources together to enhance the health and fitness program for your IL, AL, SNF, and memory-care residents.  Below you’ll find some tips to help you get started with exercise through the continuums.

3 Resources at your Fingertips: People, People, & People

  1. Passionate & Creative Activities Professionals: we often find that the activities staff are those responsible for providing daily exercise classes for residents. They are also those who are incredibly dedicated to finding enriching experiences and programming opportunities for their residents. We have found success with Train-the-Trainer programs where the NIFS fitness staff on campus provide tools and resources to activities personnel to create more variety and tailored offerings to residents.
  2. Qualified Fitness Staff: Many CCRC’s have group fitness instructors, personal trainers, or exercise physiologists supporting the health and fitness program for independent living (IL) residents on campus but they are limited in reach through the continuums of care. IL is where many residents begin to adopt a physically active lifestyle. With proper planning and strong communication, the existing fitness staff can bridge programming and resources to other continuums of care on campus.
  3. Supportive Clinical Staff: In communities without an IL component or where no regular fitness staff are present, therapy and nursing staff can play a more central role in supporting the day to day physical activity needs of residents. This can be key in residents maintaining the positive outcomes they gain as part of a spell in direct therapy services.

The passionate, caring, and dedicated staff in your senior living community might be your best untapped or underutilized resource in further serving the health and fitness needs of residents through any continuum of care. The great thing about these individuals I highlighted above is they likely already know many if not all of your residents, where individuals have struggled or what motivates them.  The March 7 workshop hosted at NIFS will provide more details and action steps on how to bring a team oriented approach to supporting the health and fitness needs for you residents. With various hands and skillsets in the mix, you can support your residents in a whole new way. Stay tuned for part 3 of this blog series on additional resources to explore in enhancing your fitness offerings.

   NIFS Workshop: Register Now

Topics: senior living communities senior fitness Exercise through the contnuums NIFS Workshop

3 Questions to Ask About Fitness Options in Assisted Living and Memory Care

ThinkstockPhotos-509493160.jpgIt’s been exciting to watch my staff push on the leading edge of expanded fitness
programming for residents in assisted living (AL), and memory-care environments for the senior living communities we serve. Over the last decade, significant progress has been made in exercise options for residents in independent living (IL); fitness centers, equipment, and scope of services have all evolved.  Unfortunately, progressing those options throughout a Life Plan community to all residents has remained an afterthought both from an amenity and programmatic standpoint. The IL residents at a community often have a fitness center, pool, robust group fitness calendar, and individualized services available to them and in many cases as they transition to AL or other areas of care on campus the drastic decline in available options shifts them from a professionally managed health and fitness program by an exercise physiologist to chair-based exercise classes lead by activities professional.

If you’re ready to take a closer look at the exercise program you provide for residents in licensed areas, these three questions are a great place to start:

Top 3 Questions to Ask Yourself about Fitness Options in assisted living and memory care:

  1. Whether you work in a standalone AL or memory-care community or CCRC, families inevitably ask about the physical activity options that are available to mom and dad beyond billable rehab services. They understand the importance of keeping the mind and body in motion as part of a daily lifestyle. Does your community have a good answer for these questions that demonstrates robust options that are purposeful and executed by trained staff?
  2. In licensed areas, residents often have rehab services more readily available to them and that might seem like an easy solution. How do you support residents when they are discharged after 6-8 weeks of therapy and eliminate the revolving door of improved function à discharge from therapy services à proceed to decline due to lack of physical activity options à then back in therapy again?
  3. If you are a CCRC and you currently have a robust fitness program for your IL residents, how do the residents’ options compare in terms of amenities, programs and services, and qualified staffing as residents move through the continuums? Having a continuation of offerings can be a great comfort as residents transition from one continuum of care to the next and it’s a great demonstration that the lifestyle they buy into in IL truly carries with them with whatever level of care they might need on campus.

Your answers to those questions may leave you with program and service gaps to fill.  In our 12 years working in senior living, we’ve developed best practices in exercise with residents in assisted living and memory care for:

  • Group fitness class offerings beyond basic chair exercise classes taught by the activities staff
  • Individualized services including personal training and fitness and balance assessments
  • Dedicated exercise equipment and spaces
  • Enriching wellness-based programming opportunities

Want to learn more? Join us in March 2017, when we host a workshop showcase some of these best practices and to provide training and tools for activities professionals to enhance the work they are doing serving the health and fitness needs of residents in AL and memory care.

NIFS Workshop: Register Now

We have two more blogs planned to spotlight what else you can learn in our Exercise Through the Continuums workshop.  Even if you can’t attend the event, you won’t want to miss the series where we help you outline how to make the best use of available resources for a fantastic fitness program.  Subscribe below to stay up to date!

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Topics: senior living senior fitness assisted living NIFS Workshop CCRC Programs and Services exercise through the continuums