Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

Bold Moves – an inclusive class for residents with Parkinson’s

“What keeps NIFS from inviting folks with varying neurological conditions into our Bold Moves for Parkinson’s class since it is also a neurological disease??

BM photoThis is a great question because it is a priority for our clients (and for us) to make sure programs and services are as inclusive as possible. But in this situation, Bold Moves is specifically designed for those who have Parkinson’s Disease and here are a few considerations on why that is the case!

Did You Know...

  • ...Parkinson’s Disease is progressive and without a cure?
  • ...medications and surgical procedures are only to help minimize symptoms?
  • ...those same medications start to wear off and do not help as much as they did at the start of use?
  • ...exercise is prescribed just as much if not more than medication for symptom management?

NIFS Bold Moves group fitness class is exclusively available to residents with Parkinson’s because the training modalities they need to manage symptoms are unique. We followed the science to make sure we were bringing our clients and their residents an evidence-based program for their fitness center and while exercise is GREAT for anyone, that doesn’t mean ALL exercises are meant for everyone. Some training modalities that benefit those with Parkinson’s in Bold Moves may be contraindicated for individuals with other neurological conditions.

Our goal with Bold Moves is to provide a safe space that encourages the types of exercise that will assist those with Parkinson’s to ease symptoms of the disease. For example, large, big, (dare we say, bold 😉,) movements are encouraged for range of motion and fighting rigidity, but did you know we should not encourage cross over steps for these participants? Another example of a warmup we might include is for facial muscles due to the symptoms that limit muscle movement in the face which can lead to further problems with swallowing and talking. Yes, we will include fitness staples like cardiovascular exercise, full body strength, and flexibility exercises, but they will each be nuanced for the symptoms individuals experience with Parkinson’s. Furthermore, if a group setting isn’t enjoyable for a resident, they can receive an individualized Bold Moves fitness program utilizing the equipment in the fitness center or the pool!

While these exercise considerations are clear in the Bold Moves training NIFS team members receive, how they format their classes remains unique for their participants. We don’t take a cookie cutter approach across our communities in how we format a fitness class, plan an exercise challenge, or promote the next big splash in aquatics programming and Bold Moves is no exception. Our skilled staff learn from their residents at each community and create a program that meets participants where they are with Bold Moves classes looking different at every client site NIFS serves. We love seeing how our team applies their Bold Moves training to give the program its own unique flavor at every community!

Recently, NIFS interviewed several members at varying client locations to get their feedback on why they participate in this program and if it has helped them. The answer is a resounding yes! They are feeling the difference in how their body moves and feels after their sessions. They are paying attention more to the cues NIFS fitness staff provide them during class and remind themselves when they are out in the community. Most importantly, they are thankful someone has the understanding that they cannot control these movement symptoms and they have confidence that they are performing the best exercises unique to their needs as part of their symptom management.

Learn more about our program for residents with Parkinson's Disease by clicking below.

NIFS Bold Moves Program for Parkinson's

 

Topics: senior living wellness programs activities calendar senior living disease management Parkinson's Disease Bold Moves

How NIFS Became Experts in Parkinson’s Fitness Programming

Exercise continues to be one of the best tools to slow the progression and combat symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease and the need for senior living communities to have dedicated exercise programs for residents with Parkinson’s is increasing. According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, 60,000 Americans are diagnosed annually and 96% of those diagnosed are over the age of 50 leaving seniors looking for best-in-class amenities and services including fitness professionals who understand their condition and can help them safely maximize the benefits of exercise.

Executive directors and marketing directors in the senior living communities NIFS serves were asking us for a marketable program they could offer in their fitness centers to support both current and prospective residents with a Parkinson’s diagnosis. NIFS culminated our years of experience developing expert health and fitness programming, supporting residents with Parkinson’s, and immersing ourselves in the science and research to develop Bold Moves™ a Parkinson’s Program by NIFS.

While NIFS had the resources to develop such a program, it was no easy feat and as usual we relied on our expert staff to help us learn what works, what doesn’t, and what resources and education we needed to enhance our department. Our staffs’ passion and commitment to finding exercise solutions to support the needs of their residents is boundless and supporting those with Parkinson’s is no exception as they helped us develop Bold Moves to incorporate:

BM Offerings_graphic icons-1We were able to learn from the experiences of team members across the US and industry experts in the field of exercise and Parkinson’s to create a truly unique program for our residents. Best of all, it’s making an impact with how much residents are engaging in exercise generating a 96% increase in group fitness visits by participants and 92% of them rating Bold Moves as good to outstanding. These statistics are from residents already residing at these communities which indicates a dedicated Parkinson’s program supports these residents in moving more!

Today, NIFS team members complete a comprehensive 8-week training including a specialty certification in Parkinson’s & Exercise to effectively launch Bold Moves for our clients. We collaborate with community personnel to incorporate an interdisciplinary team approach to bridge resources and care where needed. Residents with PD have confidence in the credentials of their fitness staff and a program uniquely designed to meet them wherever they are in their fitness journey. In turn, NIFS senior living clients have a marketable service that helps them create distinction in their marketplace with 100% of participants rating Bold Moves as a great feature of a great community!

Here are a few questions to evaluate on how your community could take steps to support residents with Parkinson’s:

  • What are the credentials of my fitness staff to deliver effective and safe Parkinson’s fitness programs?
  • Do we have a class on the group fitness schedule that provides the training modalities, equipment and safety factors to support residents with Parkinson’s in a class setting?
  • For those who don’t like group exercise, how can we provide exercise options for them in the fitness center or pool that can help them manage symptoms?
  • What pathways to bridge resources are established with other disciplines in your community like physical, occupational or speech therapy, dietitians, or healthcare navigators?

    NIFS Bold Moves Program for Parkinson's
Topics: senior living wellness programs disease management Parkinson's Disease Bold Moves

Why Exercise is Important for those with Parkinson's Disease

Bold MovesWhat is Parkinson’s? It is neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement. An individual might start with a gradual tremor in one hand, but this disease can result in numerous symptoms at different levels of severity including stiffness, slowing of movement, and disturbances to his/ her sense of balance. It cannot be cured but medications are given to try to improve symptoms. Exercises can be prescribed to help improve strength, flexibility, and balance and adherence to a regular exercise program is one of the best treatments options in managing symptoms and empowering those with Parkinson’s to fight back against the disease!

There are multiple benefits of exercise for those with Parkinson’s including:

  • increasing muscle strength, flexibility, and balance
  • improving well-being by reducing depression and anxiety
  • slowing down the disease and controlling symptoms
  • reducing pain and helping with emotional well-being
  • preventing falls by building strength and decreasing fatigue
  • improving sleep

The specificity of an exercise program for those with Parkinson’s is important to adequately manage symptoms and prevent fatigue.

  • Most people should try to reach a goal of 30-40 min per week of cardiovascular exercise such as walking, biking, and swimming.
  • As Parkinson’s can affect your posture, it is important to also add strength training and a stretch program to improve your core strength and overall range of motion.

There are different stages of the disease and medications will affect an individual suffering from Parkinson’s differently. Consulting with a qualified exercise physiologist who understands the unique needs of someone with Parkinson’s is important to ensure a safe and effective plan is being followed and tailored as needs change. An individual needs to be mindful of their movements, and at times, it can be overwhelming. A supportive exercise physiologist to observe, adjust and encourage participation can be a significant help! An individual with Parkinson’s needs to focus on walking heal to toe, taking large steps, swinging their arms, building core strength and upper back strength, and continue a quality stretch program. It is also best to continue sequential movements for brain health such as line dancing (crossing your feet and moving backwards might be a challenge) or boxing can also aid in brain health. Most importantly, find something you enjoy doing that contains all of these benefits, and make it apart of your lifestyle, ask your friends to join you!

See how NIFS wellness program, Bold Moves supports the physical, social and emotional needs of residents managing life with Parkinson's by clicking below!

NIFS Bold Moves Program for Parkinson's

Topics: senior living wellness programs Parkinson's Disease Bold Moves

Parkinson’s & Exercise: Enhancing Skills of NIFS Bold Moves Coaches

BM2We make no bones about it that our staff are the best in the business not only in their creativity but in their expert knowledge and appetite for continued learning. It takes this combination to make the most impact in reaching residents with engaging health and fitness programs in the senior living communities we serve. As NIFS was developing our Parkinson’s program, Bold Moves, we knew that equipping our staff with new certifications would not only boost their confidence, but the success of the program and we were right! Here’s some insight from three of our degreed fitness managers on how NIFS Bold Moves training aided them in elevating how they support the unique needs of their residents with Parkinson’s.

Becca G. – Bold Moves Coach in Indianapolis, Indiana

There was an abundant request at our community for a class for Parkinson’s Disease.  I researched some things on my own, but I felt like I needed more to effectively offer a class for PD.  The Bold Moves program helped me feel confident to lead class.  I feel like it gave more information about the disease, for example, how medication timing is imperative to consider when building an exercise program and encouraging participants to keep pushing. Prior to the Bold Moves training, I did not know to avoid cross over exercises, like the grapevine, or that PD causes impaired exercise-induced blood pressure levels.  After completion, I felt qualified to lead group classes and guide individuals in tailored exercise plans. Also, because of the education and training behind the program, the residents are ensured they are receiving safe, effective, and appropriate workouts from us.  I’m happy NIFS built the Bold Moves program with tools and resources to help us serve our residents with PD! It’s more than just the initial education, I have the sustained support and materials to manage the duration of this ongoing program.

Alyssa O. – Bold Moves Coach in Raleigh, NC

I feel the training was great because it educated us on the disease of Parkinson’s, the symptoms to be aware of, and walked us through several different exercises geared to manage those symptoms for maintenance or improvement in quality of life. It was very comprehensive in listing which exercises were better and why those exercises benefit this population of people.

They incorporated studies as well as example exercise programs for Parkinson’s that emphasized symptoms to look for when exercising this group of people. The training also guided intensity level and provided ways to structure the class so that it is conducted smoothly. The Bold Moves training was very helpful in my opinion!

 Charles B. – Bold Moves Coach in Atlanta, GA

As someone with a background in physical therapy, I already had some prior training and education for working with residents with Parkinson’s. However, Bold Moves training did give me a new list of Do’s and Don’ts for working with this population (avoiding grapevines and other advanced balance exercises while needing to implement exaggerated movements and elevate heart rates). The training also gave us the idea to install balance bars all along the back wall of our aerobics room, which has made our training much safer and accessible. I have 2 residents in wheelchairs and 3 in walkers who can perform standing exercises thanks to having these bars installed!

We are proud of our staff and their continued commitment to finding exercise solutions that work for all residents! For more information on NIFS Fitness Management services and our expert staff, contact Emily Davenport!

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Topics: senior group fitness classes senior living wellness programs activities calendar senior living Parkinson's Disease Bold Moves