Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

5 Ways to Include Pets at Your Senior Living Community

NIFS  | Senior with petMany senior living communities across the country are starting to recommend bringing your furry friend from your current residence to your community residence. Pets provide a sense of purpose, calmness, companionship, and security for older adults. Check out this post from Aging in Place about how having a pet can improve the aging process.

 

So what are the best ways to include pets at your senior living community? There’s no doubt that an include pets in day-to-day community life.having a pet companion not only improves quality of life for seniors, but also provides residents with opportunities to stay active and interact socially with others. Here are some ways that you can include your pet in day-to-day community life. 

Outdoor Community Dog Park

Senior living communities have invested in making specific spaces for your furry pal to get regular exercise and be safe to roam in a fenced-in area. These common areas are great for residents to socialize and interact with their pets while feeling secure that their companion won’t run off.

A few of our Active Aging sites have community dog parks and regularly host events and programs to ensure socialization and fun with pets. Tracy, a NIFS Active Aging Manager in Mystic, Connecticut, started a program once a week called YAP it UP. Residents meet at the community dog park and chat with others while exercising with their pets. Another great bonus to Tracy’s program is that residents without pets are also are encouraged to join so that they can enjoy the company of both their peers and pets. This is one great example of the many benefits that pets can bring to your community.

Have an Annual Pet Day Event

What better way to get your pet involved than with an outdoor community dog day event? This would be a great way to show off your creativity and expressiveness. There are many ways that your community can host a dog day event.

  • Best in show: Host a fun, lighthearted dog show for community leaders to judge your furry friend.
  • Wiener dog races/pet races: A wiener dog race is a fun event that can include the entire community.
  • Pet grooming event/philanthropy: Have your community host a pet grooming/bathing event to raise money for a good cause. This also could be a great opportunity to contact a local veterinary clinic to come and provide vaccinations.

Therapy Pet Visits

Many of our NIFS senior living communities host therapy dog visits to their health center and assisted living residents regularly. The animals are intended to serve as companions and have gone through programs to ensure the safety of the residents and animal. If your community is unfamiliar with therapy dogs and training's near you, the AKC has information on how to train or find therapy animals for your next event.

The Crate Escape

Many residents enjoy having a walking trail for their outdoor adventures. It’s a great way to get fresh air and enjoy a little sunshine. Why not make it more impactful and bring your pet? Dogs need social interaction and companionship just as much as people do. Bringing your furry friend on a group walk provides a sense of community. It also provides a sense of security that will get you back out with a group.

Pet + Yoga

Yoga is a very beneficial form of exercise. Yoga is known to reduce stress, increase flexibility, and help you focus on mindfulness. Make this journey even more fun by adding pets to the mix. Depending on your pet’s obedience, size, and personality, yoga can be something that you both enjoy. Our Active Aging NIFS Manager in Lakewood, New Jersey, Rachel, recently hosted an event like this during Active Aging Week. The event was so successful that her community is going to start hosting it regularly.

All of these activities are safe, impactful ways to include pets in your community. Have you hosted or participated in a pet-friendly event recently? Comment below! We would love to hear about ways that pets are part of your community.

Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

Topics: active aging senior living activities senior living communities staying active yoga

Dance Your Way to Healthy Aging

NIFS | Senior dancing

Stay active as you age by putting on your dancing shoes! Fred Astaire said “Dancing is a sweat job!” But you don’t have to break a sweat to obtain the benefits of dancing; they have been proven to be unsurpassable. Dancing can be a fun for your residents, it can add a social element to your community, and it's a really good way to keep exercise exciting!

 

Teaching line dancing to seniors has allowed me the opportunity to see firsthand how this exercise provides healthy benefits for the mind as well as the body. Any form of dance would suffice in obtaining these wellness benefits, but if you’re worried that you need a partner, know that line dancing definitely doesn’t require one.


Fitness Benefits of Dancing

Here is a list of some healthy reasons to dance your way to fitness:

  • Improved cardiovascular, muscular strength, and flexibility.
  • Promotes healthy blood pressure, cholesterol levels, triglyceride levels, and blood sugar.
  • Coordination improves as you work through the different movements.
  • Lung capacity can increase.
  • Bone strength can increase; bone loss can be stopped or slowed down.
  • Assists with weight control—half an hour of continuous line dancing can burn an average of 300 calories.
  • The social aspects of line dancing are obvious. Your sense of well-being and the camaraderie you have with the other dancers is wonderful for your health.

In addition to the above, did you know that dancing is an excellent brain exercise? It integrates several brain functions at once, increasing connectivity. As people age, maintaining memory and continuing to challenge intelligence is a real priority. What better way than to dance? Dancing requires memorizing steps, and that provides mental challenges that are crucial for brain health. Consider the fact that to execute a dance you need to remember the specific steps that flow in a sequence, and the brain has to inform the body how to move in a timely manner.

Not only does the physical aspect of dancing increase blood flow to the brain, but the social aspect of the activity leads to less stress, depression, and loneliness, which can also cause memory issues.

What Dancing Can Do for Your Balance

Dancing is also all about balance. Dancing consists of changing up the steps, arm patterns, formations, speed, and rhythm. All of these factors play a significant role in maintaining balance. Just envision doing the grapevine movement, where you must maintain balance as one leg crosses behind the other all while in motion.

Read our blog [Balance Programs: Are you meeting your residents needs?]

Not to mention that when you are dancing you are also dual-tasking. Dual-tasking has shown to improve gait and balance because everyday life involves doing one or more things simultaneously (walking and talking, or moving forward and looking to the side as examples). Therefore, when you’re moving your feet one way and arms or head the other in a dance routine, you are dual-tasking. Also don’t forget the fact that you’re having to think which steps come next.

Try the Grapevine Movement

Want to get started? Here’s the simple grapevine movement. Safety always comes first. Designate a place where you can reach to hold on if necessary, and modify your movements if crossing one foot behind the other is too challenging.

A grapevine is a series of steps in one direction, stepping to the side. Count 1, 2, 3, 4 to the beat of the music and do the following:

  • Step to the right with the right foot.
  • Cross the left foot behind the right foot. (You can modify by just slightly stepping back and not crossing entirely.)
  • Step right with the right foot, uncrossing your feet.
  • Close your feet together.
  • Repeat stepping to the left with your left foot as well.

See how NIFS Premier Balance Redefined Programming enhances resident wellbeing. Download our Media Kit below.

Download Now

Topics: dancing healthy aging improving senior fitness balance training for seniors weight loss depression brain health flexibility bone density

NIFS Personal Training in Active Aging Communities

NIFS | Active Aging Personal TrainingThere are many reasons to work with a personal trainer from NIFS, and in this blog we cover the top five: forming habits, fun, accountability, comfortability, and safety.

 

F: Forming Habits

One of the many benefits of working with a NIFS personal trainer is forming healthy habits. When you decide to start personal training, you and your trainer will being with some goals by picking a set number of days and times to meet each week. Your NIFS personal trainer will encourage you to stick to this schedule every week in order to develop a habit. By sticking to this new habit of “every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 1pm, I will work out with my trainer,” you will start to develop the habit and some consistency. Eventually you will feel more energized (and hopefully excited) around that time every week and look forward to the health benefits that you are gaining.

F: Fun!

Going to group fitness class and exercising can be fun as well, and it is something that many people prefer. Your NIFS trainer will ensure that your workout is educational, appropriate for your goals, safe, and enjoyable! When doing any kind of physical activity, it is important that you are doing something that you enjoy. When you are having fun with your workout, you will more than likely perform better—and most importantly, come back for another session!

A: Accountability

Having a NIFS personal trainer also provides a sense of accountability. Your trainer can help you stay on top of your appointments by sending reminder cards and personal phone calls. It is also encouraging to know that someone is counting on you to be there, which increases the sense of accountability. We do, however, know that life happens and things pop up. When this happens we are willing to work with your busy and ever-changing schedules and life scenarios. Your trainer will be empathetic and flexible to your needs and can reschedule as needed.

C: Comfortability

It is also our job as NIFS personal trainers to provide an environment where our residents are comfortable. This entails many aspects. During the exercises themselves, we want to avoid any exercise that causes you pain either during or after your workout. We will ensure a strong line of communication throughout our sessions in order to avoid painful experiences. We also strive to create an environment where you feel comfortable with us as your trainer. For every session and with a smile, we will explain what we will be doing for the day, educate you on our focus and how it helps you, and maintain a positive and encouraging attitude.

S: Safety

The most important part of having a trainer is their knowledge and ability to train safely. Falling is a risk, but with a NIFS personal trainer, that risk is always considered and mitigated to the best of our ability. Beyond that, we look for exercises to help reduce this risk, and are right by your side every step of the way. No matter what task you are taking on that day, you can trust that your trainer will be there to help keep you safe. We always look for safer ways to perform exercise and are there in case you stumble. Our number-one priority is to help you safely improve your quality of life and provide the tools for you to succeed.

Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

Topics: personal training group fitness active aging healthy habits accountability injury prevention

Water Volleyball Tournament Is the Definition of Active Aging Week 2018

Active Aging Week is always an exciting time for the NIFS Active Aging team. Our team members work hard to create opportunities for the residents ranging from sports, recreation, and trivia to meditation, education, and beyond with the goal of celebrating a positive view of aging. NIFS staff members across the country went above and beyond this year to encourage residents to step outside of their comfort zones and celebrate actively aging all week.

This spirit was most certainly demonstrated by the water volleyball tournament that took place between our senior living sites in Chicago, IL, and Lincolnwood, IL this year. I had the opportunity to speak with both Ruth, the NIFS Fitness Manager at Lincolnwood, and Leah, the NIFS Fitness Manager at Chicago, to see how the day went. Check it out!

NIFS | Seniors playing water volleyball

Q: What inspired the idea of a water volleyball tournament between Lincolnwood and Chicago?

Ruth: I really wanted to put together more activities between our Illinois sites, and water volleyball seemed like a great way to get our residents together and get to know the other community. Leah did a great job of getting her residents to practice and actually come with their A game this year. I really would like to host chair volleyball tournaments to include Wyndemere as well since they don’t have a pool.

Leah: Last year, Lincolnwood came to the Chicago site to play water volleyball. We assembled a team for the event without ever practicing. The Lincolnwood players told the Chicago players that they “skunked us,” and that didn’t sit so well with our competitive residents. A rematch with Lincolnwood was one of the first requests I received when I started in Chicago last March. From there it was just a matter of timing, and we thought tying it into Active Aging Week was a great idea!

Q: So, let’s get the obvious question out of the way…who won?

Leah: I’m proud to say we brought the Poinsettia Trophy home this year. We had several residents who had played last year say they would only play this year if we practiced first. I put four practice times on the schedule, and the players enjoyed it so much they requested two additional practices. They were taking no chances this year and their hard work showed…we “skunked” them!

Ruth: Yeah, yeah they beat us...this year! We have an ongoing water volleyball group here at Lincolnwood that meets on Saturday mornings. They have a team resident leader, and honestly they were overly confident this year and really didn’t play to their full potential. Nonetheless, we loved having the Chicago team here and enjoyed the time together since we do a lunch afterwards as well.

Q: What do you think the residents enjoyed the most about the tournament?

Leah: Play is one of the best things you can do for your mind, body, and soul; and unfortunately, it seems like we lose sight of that as we age. This tournament gave our residents the opportunity to reconnect with their younger selves, become part of a supportive team, play, and have fun! Our team is a competitive bunch. They were jumping, leaping, and diving for the ball. One resident told me after the tournament that being on this team was the best workout and the most fun she had had in years.

Ruth: Definitely promoting water volleyball is a way to reach out to our residents as another form of exercise beyond the standard fitness classes. They love the competition aspect and really enjoy developing as players, regardless of their age! Many of them played volleyball throughout their life.

Q: Were there any surprises? Anything that stands out from the day?

Leah: My residents were shocked and not too happy to find the beach ball at Lincolnwood was quite a lot bigger and heavier than the ball we have at Chicago. It really threw the team off during the first game (which is the only game we lost at the tournament). It was fun to see them adjust their style of playing.

Ruth: We actually were equally surprised last year when we had to play with a smaller-version volleyball; perhaps we need to come up with an in-between ball. I think the biggest surprise for us was how prepared the Chicago players were, their setups were definitely practiced.

Leah: There were many highlights of the day, but the thing that stood out to me most was the game-winning point of the final game. There was so much tension in the air as our resident made the final serve. When the ball dropped to the water and scored the final point, the Chicago residents just erupted with a cheer. On our way home the team asked if we could continue to play once a week and open it up to all senior living residents. It is now on our schedule every Wednesday at 1 pm!

Ruth: The good news is that our players surprised me by not being upset over the loss; they embraced the camaraderie among both communities. They also appreciated the positive comments regarding the pool size and the luncheon, but they are excited about next year and heading back to playing at The Clare.

Q: Do you have any advice for fitness staff who want to host a similar tournament in their community?

Leah: I definitely recommend having a few practices before playing an actual game and communicating with the other facility about towels and water. The site in Chicago provides towels at the pool, but Lincolnwood does not, so I was thankful Ruth let me know that in advance so we were prepared.

I’d be sure to clarify the rules with the players before the game.

Ruth was kind enough to coordinate a buffet lunch after the tournament so all of the players got to enjoy a lunch together. Timing wise, we allowed 30 minutes between arriving at Lincolnwood and starting the game, and 30 minutes between the last game and lunch. We could have done 20 minutes between each instead because our residents transitioned more quickly than expected. In addition to the Poinsettia Trophy, Ruth also prepared a laminated certificate for the winning team, which we framed and will hang in our pool area. The residents are extremely proud of the certificate and have brought their grandkids in to show them.

Ruth: Ditto on the above. Have those rules laid out in advance so all the players understand before the tournament and set up practices months to weeks before the actual game! It really is just a fun way to bring communities together and showcase NIFS’s work in providing programs that continue to encourage a “healthy lifestyle” for both the mind and body to equal active aging!

Thanks for sharing, Ruth and Leah!

To learn more about partnering with NIFS to manage your senior living community, click the link below. 

Partner with NIFS to improve your senior living community

Topics: active aging week, competition adding fun to senior fitness activities calendar senior living exercise and aging senior living activities water

Keep Motivated to Workout During Those Cold Winter Months


NIFS | Winter Workout

As winter approaches, many of us tend to slack on our workouts. I don’t know about you but on dreary, cold days all I want to do is put on a good movie and lay on the couch. The weather gets colder and there is less daylight available during the winter months, making it difficult to find time to get a workout in. Ever heard of the Winter Blues? Feeling down can contribute to decreased motivation as well. The happy feel-good hormone tends to decrease with the lack of sunlight and warm air.

 When winter starts to approach, I try to find new activities around the city to keep me moving and to give me a little motivation. Now is also a great time to start thinking about weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly goals. Setting small weekly goals that will lead up to a larger goal typically work best for me. One great way to stay motivated is to sign up for a race or trying a new fitness class. Whether it be a 5K, 10K, half marathon, or marathon, having something to work towards could be just what you need to keep you inspired through the winter. I plan for a race by deciding what an achievable goal time should be; I am my own biggest competitor so this approach works best for me. Another way to keep that motivation would be to try a new group exercise class or fitness trend. There are unique fitness classes that are very efficient ways to burn calories. Who knows, a yoga class or exercise DVD might get you hooked and keep you coming back for more.

[Read more: Don't Wait Until You Feel Motivated to Make Healthy Changes]

One popular fitness trend right now is high intensity interval training (HIIT) workouts. I really enjoy these quick high intensity workouts because they are easy to fit in during those shorter days of the year. These workouts can be done virtually anywhere and you only need a short amount of time. These classes usually consist of a little competition mixed with an intense cardio session.

There’s no shortage of options for continuing workouts even if you have to move them inside for the winter. So before the winter months hit, I encourage you to find a new fitness class or to set some new goals to keep you motivated this winter season. Don’t let the cold days and holiday treats keep you from your goals.

 Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

Topics: winter blues winter fitness motivation fitness goals fitness routine setting exercise goals goal setting

Manage diabetes this holiday season with exercise and nutrition

Throughout the year, you have worked hard to stay on course with managing your health and diabetes, but the holiday season has the potential to take you off course. Eating healthy and staying active becomes more difficult during the holidays due to food being one of the central focuses of the season. When the weather gets colder and travel increases, it is harder to maintain an exercise schedule. As the holidays approach, it is appropriate to talk about some ways you can stay happy and healthy even when surrounded by delicious, yes sometimes unhealthy food.

NIFS | Family making choices

It is important to set reasonable and attainable goals for yourself during the holiday months. Weight loss can be a very difficult task around this time of year so adjusting goals may be necessary. Instead of trying to lose weight, set a goal to maintain your weight and not gain throughout the holidays. Be sure to stay active even when the weather gets colder. Find ways to stay physically active indoors such as joining a group fitness class, purchase some enjoyable videos or stream workouts, join a sports team like basketball or volleyball, or find an indoor swimming pool. Check your corporate wellness program to see if they offer an incentive  to help you maintain your weight this season. Exercise can help you maintain your weight, lower blood glucose levels, and boost your sensitivity to insulin.

Overindulging can cause some setbacks or worse yet, setup for continued overindulgence. Be aware of your portion sizes and don’t neglect healthy foods. Your diet should include many whole grains, fruits, vegetables and should include less fat and sugar. These healthy food choices will lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) levels and increase your good cholesterol (HDL) levels. It's also smart to limit red meat and avoid processed meats.

Stick to drinks with no (or low) sugar such as water or tea. Studies show that sugar-sweetened beverages are linked to obesity and diabetes. Try rewarding yourself with something other than sweet treats like a movie, pedicure, a book you’ve been wanting, or some new workout gear. If you do consider rewarding yourself with something sweet, make it a healthy dessert like banana bread with less sugar and less calories, something made with fresh fruit, a small piece of dark chocolate or a low sugar latte.

Read our blog [SMART and Healthy Eating During the Holidays]

Don’t let the holiday season take you off course. Do your best to stay on track and enjoy the holidays. Try some of these tips out and hopefully you will be able to progress towards your health and fitness goals even during the holiday/winter months.

Subscribe to our blog

Topics: workout motivation winter fitness smart goals diabetes healthy choices staying active during the holidays

Is an electric wheelchair really "taking the easy way out?"

NIFS | wheelchair challengeThere isn’t anything easy about it. Residents were put to the test during Active Aging Week 2018 by completing an electric wheelchair obstacle course. An electric wheelchair is quite an intimidating assisted device that many residents around the building use to navigate the building. This was a great chance to see how residents could handle themselves in a situation where an electric wheelchair might be a last effort chance to remain independent and mobile.

The primary goal of this activity was for residents to see how life felt in someone else’s shoes for a moment. Electric wheelchairs aren’t always an ideal way to get around. Sure, it might get you from point A to point B in a shorter amount of time, but they often get looked down upon for “taking the easy way out.” Is it really the easy way out? The only easy thing about it seemed to be the fact that one could sit down in the process. Residents were quick to find out how much dexterity and fine motor skills are involved in steering this battery operated device.

Cones were set up in a large circle in the center of the room. Residents were instructed to drive around the circle as close to the cones as possible. When they made it the entire way around, they turned into the circle between two cones, without hitting them, and circled the cones in the opposite direction. Following the completion of the change of direction, the residents were instructed to pull between two cones that were located against the wall. This exercise was designed to simulate pulling between two chairs at the dinner table. They had to stop before the wheelchair crashed into the table (in this case, the wall). Then they had to back up as straight as possible and drive back to the starting position to exchange with the next resident in line.

All of the residents noted how fidgety the steering component was on the device. It didn’t always move in the exact manner they intended. The wheels are located in the back of the chair, which produces a much smaller turning radius that threw the residents for quite a loop. Some had trouble with speed control. Some had trouble with backing up. Everyone had their own complaints or pains about using the wheelchair for those 5 minutes.

Overall, the consensus was the same. Everyone enjoyed the experience, but knew they didn’t want to use the chair full time. Each person spoke about the stigma that came with using an electric wheelchair in public. Many residents would jump to the other side of the room when someone approached them in the chair because they thought they were too dangerous. Now the hope is that people will be more considerate and thoughtful towards those residents confined to a chair for mobility and independence.

NIFS can to help initiate activities like this at your community! Click below to download our quick read on how outsourcing your community fitness center might be the right move.  

Download Now

Topics: active living senior living activities active aging electric wheelchair active aging week,

Living Your Best Life While Living with COPD

NIFS | Lung healthCOPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) is a disease that makes it hard to breathe and, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), gets worse over time. COPD is also known as Chronic Bronchitis and Emphysema, a progressive disease that produces large amounts of mucus and causes shortness of breath. The disease is most commonly caused by cigarette smoking. However, according to the NHLBI, up to 25% of those with COPD never smoked. They also say that long term exposure to other lung irritants like air pollution, dusts, and chemical fumes may contribute to the severity of COPD.  Although it is progressive and undoubtedly affects one’s quality of life, there are effective ways to prevent or manage this disease. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, preventing COPD is simple, “The majority of cases are directly related to cigarette smoking, and the best way to prevent COPD is to never smoke or to stop smoking now.” Tobacco cessation is notoriously difficult, and the Mayo Clinic recommends a structured tobacco cessation program for best results. Furthermore, those individuals exposed to chemicals at work should discuss any health and safety concerns with their supervisors. 

Beyond this clear path of prevention lies a not-so-clear area, disease management and living an active lifestyle with COPD. For many patients, Pulmonary Rehabilitation is an important aspect of the treatment plan. This rehabilitation describes a program that can assist the patient with techniques to help them breathe easier, and exercise regiment, education about the condition and counseling. Exercise is a key element of this rehabilitation and management process. Some of the benefits of exercise for those with COPD are; improved circulation, increased energy levels, and more efficient oxygen consumption. Given the nature of COPD as a pulmonary disease, the most impactful form of exercise is aerobic. With that said, stretching and strength training are also important for a healthy, balanced kinetic system. Breathing patterns are important for all individuals, but they are vital for COPD patients.

Before starting an exercise program, individuals should consult with their primary healthcare provider. For individuals with COPD, a deeper conversation may be required. Patients should consider how often they should exercise, how long they should exercise, and what types of exercise they should perform. Patients should also review the timing of their medications with their physician before starting their exercise sessions. Through exercise, a better quality of life is possible for individuals living with COPD and that’s a breath of fresh air!

 Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

Topics: COPD lung health smoking cessation exercise program disease management

Change Your Fitness Backdrop to Beat Boredom


NIFS | bored with exercise

Do you get bored with the same workout and find yourself feeling unmotivated in the gym at times? Yeah, it happens to me too. Exercise boredom happens to all of us at some point. It’s easy to get stuck in a routine where you almost forget that you have done the same workout for months, maybe even years. That’s fine, but your muscles need variation to grow and become stronger. I like to call this action, “confusing the body,” by switching up your exercises you prevent the body from plateauing. Exercise is meant to be enjoyed, not dreaded so why not participate in something you like!  Here are some fun ideas to combat exercise boredom.        

Take a hike

I like to hit the trails when I’m feeling stressed. It’s nice outside, and it offers the chance to change up my workout scenery. Hiking is not only good for your body, but also your mental health. Many research studies show that hiking has a positive impact on decreasing the symptoms of stress and anxiety. Fresh air, a good cardiovascular workout (weight bearing exercise) and being surrounded by nature, what is there not to enjoy? Find a local park (or National Park) and appreciate the movement your body is capable of outdoors!

Superset your exercises

Moving quickly from one exercise to another, between two different exercises can add something new to your workout. By shortening the rest period between sets, this will keep your heart rate elevated and overall increase the intensity of your workout by overloading your muscles. This keeps your workout active and exciting.   

Take your workout outside

The environment in which you work out in can become dull at times as well. Add variety to your workout by taking your sweat session outside or in a new place you have never been. Your environment affects thoughts and desires, but by changing your surroundings you can give yourself a fresh burst of motivation. Grab a pair of dumbbells, a mat, and try this workout! This can be done inside, outside, or ever when you travel. Go through both circuits 2-3 times.

Circuit 1 (30 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest)

  1. Burpees
  2. Squat to Press
  3. Downward dog push ups
  4. Dead bugs

 Circuit 2 (30 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest)

  1. Walking Lunges
  2. Plank ups
  3. Straight leg deadlift
  4. High Knees

 Read our blog [My Favorite Workout: Trying New Exercises or Activities]

 Try something different  

Have you always wanted to try rock climbing, kickboxing, or a different fitness class? Break out of your exercise comfort zone by trying something new for you and your body. By challenging your body in ways it is not familiar has its perks. Trying something new helps you overcome fear, stimulates your creativity, and you will even get to know yourself better. When we try new activities we naturally recognize who we are and where we are headed. You might find a new hobby, fitness class, gym, small studio, or meet some awesome workout partners along the way!

Like what you just read? Click here to get more great content like this!

Topics: health and fitness goals workout motivation fitness routine boredom

Knowing what makes your residents tick could improve programs

Your community is, or should be built on resident satisfaction. Your residents are your priority, but they are also your revenue. Without them, your community increases the chances of failing. It’s important to understand this when building programming at your senior living community.

Every community is different. Every resident has a specific want or need. Our job as Wellness Managers is to hone in on what those needs and wants are and to address them. How do you do this? Here are five ways to assess your wellness programs so they are continuously successful and you are meeting the demands of your residents.

NIFS | A closer look

#1 - Get to know your resident population

It takes some time to understand what your residents really enjoy. It’s also important to note that not all residents are the same. Where some may enjoy the social interaction and class environment, others enjoy solitary fitness or wellness programs. It’s important to identify these differences and make sure that wellness programs have variety and cover many different personalities and preferences.

#2 - Listen to ALL resident feedback and take action

This can be tough, but is necessary to grow and develop a program that residents enjoy. If a resident comes to you and says, “I don’t think this program is successful and this is why…,” it’s important to take a deep breath, and LISTEN. As hard as it may be to sit back as it feel like someone is tearing your hard work into shreds, they are providing valuable information to improve your programming. Be open to the positive and negative feedback so you can make the necessary changes for improvement.

#3 - Evaluate your wellness programs

Evaluating wellness programs is the key to success. There are many different ways to do this. The best way is to keep track of your data and evaluate it. How many residents participated in your event/program/specialty classes? Did it show an increase in overall participation for the month in which you ran the program? Did you make a survey and distribute it to residents that participated? These are all valuable ways of gathering information to see if wellness programs are a hit or a miss.

#4 - Make sure programs are evolving over time

Your programs should evolve with your residents. If you have been running the same wellness programs for five years and haven’t changed them at all, it becomes routine, less exciting for some, and participation may decrease. Give residents something new and fun to enjoy. I am not telling you to completely re-invent the wheel, but to simply add/take away/replace some aspect of your program to make it more enticing and fresh. You’ll be amazed by what small and simple modifications can do for the community and programs.

#5 - Ask for help

It’s okay to ask community leaders, colleagues and staff members for information and help to reignite or invent a completely new program. Team work is one of the best ways for a community to put on a great event. Don’t be afraid to ask for help throughout your planning.

Being proactive in assessing fitness and wellness programs will not only keep you informed about the impact you are making for your community, it will also show that you genuinely care about the goals you are trying to achieve. Your community will recognize that not only are you putting in the effort to make a program, but you are also putting in the groundwork to make that program successful, enjoyable, and have a positive impact for residents.

Click below to learn more about partnering with NIFS to manage your senior living community fitness center.

Partner with NIFS to improve your senior living community

Topics: senior living wellness programs active aging program evaluation programming improving senior fitness resident engagement resident wellness programs senior fitness management nifs fitness managment