Corporate Fitness and Active Aging

NIFS Pump it for Parkinson’s: A Special Event, 15 years in the making!

PI4P logo_final-01Over 15 years ago, I remember sitting down at the computer in my senior living client’s fitness center and Googling, “exercises for Parkinson’s disease”. I had a new resident move-in with Parkinson’s and though I’m a certified and degreed exercise physiologist, I wanted to make sure I understood how to support her needs. Her name was Carolyn and I still remember her smile.

I now work at the operational level for NIFS supporting dozens of senior living clients and team members across the country. I benefit from a bird’s eye view of hearing successes and challenges impacting our communities and what residents want in their fitness center. I was continuing to hear requests from clients and staff for Parkinson’s resources. Our clients wanting a quality, yet manageable program that stands up to their brand promise in helping residents live well, and from our staff feeling like there were missed opportunities to better engage these residents.

Our staff are degreed fitness professionals, but those credentials don’t tell the full story of who they are as people. They are intuitive and gifted in relationship building with their members. They shared stories of individuals with Parkinson’s trying an existing balance class and noticing they weren’t coming back. They shared stories of what they were witnessing in the emotional needs of these residents who can also experience fatigue and depression.

As a prospective or current resident with a diagnosis speaks to our clients or staff, we want them to feel confidently met with exercise options that they know are designed for their needs. This is where Bold Moves was born. We spent over a year researching, completing specialized certifications, and meeting with our team to learn not only how to better support the exercise needs of those with Parkinson’s, but in a way that we know is manageable in a senior living fitness environment. We know the equipment, spaces, personnel, and resources commonly in place and created safe and empowering programming with Bold Moves that our staff could apply across different client settings.

Many think they have classes and one-on-one services that residents with Parkinson’s can participate in already. This was our line of thinking too. But after implementing Bold Moves, the level of engagement by residents with Parkinson’s skyrocketed. In the first two months of the program, we saw a 96% increase in group fitness participation by these individuals having a dedicated class on the calendar uniquely designed for their training needs. We have also seen a 100%+ increase in completion of our one-on-one exercise prescription service. These residents are regularly engaging in their community’s fitness centers more and it’s amazing to see how far we’ve come since the days of that simple Google search looking for resources!

We were so pumped by these outcomes; we wanted to celebrate and share resources to help more communities support their residents. On World Parkinson’s Day, we are going BIG with Pump it for Parkinson’s. During this nationwide event on Tuesday, April 11, senior living providers will come together, utilize complimentary programming materials to host their NuStep step-a-thon, and receive expert resources from NIFS to continue supporting their residents with Parkinson’s. Don’t have a NuStep in your community? That’s OK. We can find opportunities utilizing the equipment you do have. It is estimated that one million people are living in the US with Parkinson’s and our goal is to come together and complete at least one million steps on the NuStep as we Pump it for Parkinson’s. In addition to the great Parkinson’s resources including instructional videos for your fitness staff and education from NIFS Registered Dietitian, your community will also have an opportunity to win a free NuStep T6 Cross Trainer in thanks to our partnership with NuStep! We are thankful for our industry partners with NuStep, ICAA and Wellzesta who are helping us spread the word about this event so more communities can join us. For more information and to register your community, visit our Pump it for Parkinson’s page here.

Learn More: Pump It for Parkinson's

Topics: fitness programs for seniors senior living communities senior living wellness programs Parkinson's Disease Bold Moves Pump It for Parkinson's

NIFS Announces Pump It for Parkinson's: A Senior Living Event

The National Institute for Fitness and Sport (NIFS) presents Pump It for Parkinson’s on World Parkinson’s Day, April 11, 2023. NIFS has partnered with NuStep inviting senior living communities across the country to take part in this event to raise awareness on the benefits of exercise for individuals with Parkinson’s. Pump It for Parkinson’s will be a day-long NuStep challenge for senior communities striving to achieve 30,000 steps on their NuStep.

Emily Davenport, NIFS Director of Fitness Center Management, said, “communities can rally their entire campus by bringing together their residents and employees to accomplish the goal!” NIFS will provide communities with a complimentary programming packet including tracking tools, promotional content, and educational resources they need to get their residents excited. The event’s goal is to accrue 1 million steps representing the 1 million people in the US living with Parkinson’s!

“Whether this event is a community’s first program dedicated to supporting residents with Parkinson’s or a fun add-on to existing offerings, we want to provide resources as they continue to help residents fight back against Parkinson’s,” said Davenport. Participating communities will also receive a Parkinson’s fitness toolkit of resources and videos they can use in their fitness center. Communities that want to get involved need to register here.

“We’re pleased to partner with NIFS and support their event, Pump It for Parkinson’s. And we’re honored that participants will be using NuStep cross trainers throughout the day to demonstrate the importance of exercise for people with Parkinson’s," said NuStep Vice President of Marketing and Product Development, Tobey Thelen. As an added incentive, thanks to NuStep and NIFS, communities may be eligible to win a NuStep T6 Cross Trainer for participating in Pump It for Parkinson's.

Nearly 10 million individuals are living with Parkinson’s Disease worldwide and each year 90,000 Americans are diagnosed with this degenerative condition. Three years ago, NIFS embarked on developing a comprehensive fitness program to meet the unique needs of residents with Parkinson’s Disease for their senior living community clients. From this, Bold Moves programming specifically designed for residents with Parkinson’s was born.

NIFS would like to thank strategic partners, NuStep and Wellzesta, for supporting Pump It for Parkinson’s and their help in creating awareness of the unique fitness needs residents with Parkinson’s Disease have.

To find out more about Fitness Center Management by NIFS, call (317) 274-3432, email Emily Davenport.

NuStep is a leading manufacturer of recumbent cross-trainers used in healthcare, senior living, and fitness settings worldwide.

Communities can learn more about this complimentary program and register for the event by clicking the button below!

Learn More: Pump It for Parkinson's

Follow the event on our Facebook page: Pump It for Parkinson's

Topics: senior living communities senior living wellness programs senior lliving activities calendar senior living Parkinson's Disease Bold Moves Pump It for Parkinson's

Outsourcing Your Senior Living Fitness Center with The Pros

GettyImages-649787946The senior living industry has been fervently moving over the past decade to renovate and build fitness centers for their residents and the momentum is only growing.

As reported in Senior Housing News, funding towards wellness real estate increased
by 6.4% from 2015 to $134 billion in sales in 2017 and is projected to grow to $180 billion by 2022.

Now savvy consumers are further moving the needle inquiring about what programs and services are available to residents in those fitness centers. After all, that $180 billion projection for 2022 incorporates “wellness environments” as two meanings…both the physical spaces as well as the human environment and the individuals who residents will have to interact with and receive the support they need.

Having a personal trainer and fitness classes are a great starting point but it leaves a lot on the table to fully reach your entire resident population and not just the able-bodied residents who would likely find a means of being active regardless. Wherever your community might be in your fitness program development, check out these five advantages on how partnering with fitness management experts like NIFS can help you further serve your residents while giving your marketing and sales team a boost in setting your community apart from your competition.


FIVE ADVANTAGES TO PARTNERING WITH FITNESS MANAGEMENT EXPERTS LIKE NIFS

  1. Fall Prevention Programming
    NIFS comprehensive Balance Redefined program provides residents with a variety of balance training and fall prevention services year round. From balance exercise prescriptions to balance classes and educational workshops to closely collaborating with therapy, residents gain confidence and skills to maintain their independence and live well.

  2. Fitness Center Layout And Design
    Having a fitness center is one thing and having a well-designed fitness center with equipment that is functional, safe and laid out in a way that supports the scope of programming available to your residents is another. There are many manufacturers who claim to meet these needs but be cautious in the selection process. Our experience with dozens of equipment vendors, communities, etc., allows us to support clients in making choices on equipment and the layout of their space that best meets the needs of their residents.

  3. Marketing & Sales Partners
    Resident successes and engaging programming happen every day in your fitness center but getting those stories into the hands of your marketing and sales team can be a challenge. We provide clients with monthly resources for social media posting on current programs, health observances, etc., as well as routine reports summarizing program successes and resident accomplishments so they can help prospects not only see your physical spaces but learn about the offerings and resident accomplishments.

  4. AL/SNF Programming
    We all know communities are selling a lifestyle promise to residents wherever they might be in their aging journey and as healthcare needs change, so do fitness program needs and available resources. Our staff are readily teaching classes, providing one-on-one services and bringing programming resources to activities staff in licensed-areas on the campuses we serve. When we build a relationship with a resident in IL, we want to continue that relationship as the resident moves through the continuums.

  5. Robust Programming
    Even in communities where they have hired an FTE in-house to manage their program, we have learned that the limited resources available to that individual limits the potential for programming and services. We are regularly bringing residents fresh new offerings every single month to keep them inspired and asking us what’s next. With a network of like-minded professionals across the country, a NIFS fitness manager is plugged into new ideas, resources and trends that help bring a variety of wellness and fitness offerings to residents efficiently and with consistency.
Much like an individual’s own fitness journey, taking small steps can add up to making big strides in enhancing your community’s fitness program. Explore opportunities to build upon your existing successes and resident favorites and identify what resources you need to further expand and broaden your program’s impact.

Looking for a partner to help you in that exploration process? Contact NIFS for more information on our Fitness Management and Consulting Services.

Is outsourcing fitness center management right for your community?

Topics: senior fitness management senior living communities senior fitness fitness center for seniors improving senior fitness

A Well Rounded Self-Care Routine

With extra time at home, are you looking for ways to enrich your day to day life? Practicing self-care allows you to use this time in social isolation to take care of yourself and help reduce stress you might have over our current situation.

Self-Care is the practice of taking deliberate action to encourage growth or maintain one’s own health. This can be your physical, mental, or emotional health, or any combination thereof! Some basic categories to use in practicing your self-care are eating, sleeping, socializing, exercising, and stimulating your mind. All of these are important to your health, but there are many ways of addressing them.

Practicing self-care by focusing on eating can look like these:

  • consulting a Registered Dietician to make sure that your specific food needs are being met while you’re at home
  • taking the time to make your favorite meal or trying out a new healthy smoothie recipe
  • personally, I like to make sure I drink enough water every day by slicing fruit and having flavored water whenever I want

Focusing on sleep can mean:

  • creating a consistent bedtime routine
  • try a face mask and a calming cup of tea to relax before bed
  • simply prioritize getting enough sleep each night, roughly 8 hours is a good goal

GettyImages-1137196547 (1)Socializing might look different now than it used to, but you can still enjoy time with others!

  • Our phones and computers allow us to text, call, and even video chat with people around the world.
  • Try sending cards and letters in the mail. Do you have beautiful stationery and cards that have been sitting around? Now is the time to send them to someone and spread joy!

We all know exercise is important for more than just your physical health.

  • if you enjoy spending time outside, try taking a walk!
  • try yoga outdoors or in your own home
  • look for online exercise options like written workouts or classes that you can follow along with

Mental stimulation can look very different for everyone.

  • meditation, journaling, and painting are all great options
  • you can enjoy reading books or maybe try joining an online book club
  • brain teasers, crossword puzzles, and online trivia competitions are great options
  • include meditation or a daily Bible study in your routine

Many self-care options cover more than one of these categories. Drawing a nice bath with scented candles after exercising can help you relax before bed and wrap up a hard workout. Baking a treat and delivering it to a neighbor provides you mental stimulation and some socialization while giving your neighbor a nice surprise! Make today special by focusing on yourself and practicing self-care to preserve and promote your health in a way that works for you.

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Topics: senior wellness programs senior living communities

Kicking off 2020 with the 5 Star Fit Club

GettyImages-494388997 (1)It should come as no surprise that most people aim to improve their lives in one way or another with the start of a new year. Particularly when it comes to focusing on better health and fitness, January’s clean slate seems to be the ideal time to get back on track and into shape immediately following the busy holiday season and prolonged period of indulgence. This seems to be a universal practice as we have found that to be no exception for our members and residents in senior living communities!

NIFS partners with communities across the US to manage their fitness center programming. Similar to most public gyms, our staff also notice patterns related to New Year’s resolutions. In the first few days of January we have come to expect an influx of participation, but these numbers start to decline after a few weeks as old routines creep back and resolutions are abandoned.

Knowing how to set goals, find motivation, build better habits, and remain consistent are all huge components of why so many “resolution-setters” fail. In fact, one study conducted by the University of Scranton suggests that only 8% of people stick to their resolutions, so we saw this as an opportunity to better support the communities and residents we serve and developed NIFS Five Star Fit Club. We piloted this program in ten communities for the first time in January 2019 and it resulted in:

  • Total visits: An average increase of 21% in total resident participation to the fitness centers in January 2019 compared to January 2018.
  • Group Fitness Visits: An average increase of 28% in participation in group fitness classes in January 2019 compared to January 2018.
  • Appointment Volume: Resident engagement increased by 135% in the number of appointments conducted in January 2019 compared to January 2018.
  • New Members: Across the communities, a total of 43 residents began participating in their fitness center for the first time as a direct result of the Five Star Fit Club program.

This incentive program is three weeks long and includes both a personalized assessment and exercise prescription as well as an interactive workshop where residents learn how to effectively change their habits and routines. Additionally, members are encouraged to visit their community’s fitness center independently and attend a set number of group fitness classes. The premise of the program is for participants to earn five stars over the three-week period by participating in the mentioned programs and services. In doing so they are being recognized and rewarded, experiencing accountability, and sensing small wins all while creating sustainable healthy habits and routines to keep them on track for the remainder of the year!5-Star Fit Club

In 2020, even more NIFS clients are kicking off the New Year with the 5-Star Fit Club and we look forward to hearing about the healthy habits and lifestyle choices residents adopt. Robust programs like the 5-Star Fit Club are a great way for senior living providers to support resident well-being while increasing utilization of amenities such as their fitness centers and pools. Click here for some other programming twists brought to NIFS clients.

Get Our Guide to Successful Fitness Programs

Topics: fitness programs for seniors senior living communities NIFS programs adding fun to senior fitness

Senior Living Lifestyle: Don’t Let Wellness Definition Limit Potential

What Does Wellness Mean to You?

Wellness might be one of the most overstated and broadly defined terms in the senior living industry—at least in how it is modeled from one community to the next—and it can be exhausting trying to keep up. At community A, wellness might refer to your health service offices, therapy gym, or clinician staff; whereas wellness at community B might refer to your fitness spaces and programming. Neither of those models is wrong. Neither of those models is necessarily correct, either.

GettyImages-1161759077 (1)When we’re talking about whole-person well-being, it isn’t just the health care options available, or the fitness program offerings. Communities should be cautious about how narrowly they define “wellness” when connecting it to their physical spaces or services. This can have a significant impact in the messaging of your community culture to your residents and prospective residents. Supporting resident well-being should flow through every nook, cranny, department, and service under your roof; however, many communities miss opportunities because they want the word “wellness” labeled on a space or department.

Wellness Branding Barriers

Here are some remarks I’ve heard from communities through our consulting work, where they have unknowingly created barriers for themselves.

We can’t brand our lifestyle and wellness offerings because…

  • “We call our clinic our Wellness Center, and it will confuse residents.”
    You are right. If you want to put emphasis on sick care as opposed to preventative lifestyle offerings, this would cause confusion.
  • “We call our fitness room our Wellness Center, and it will confuse residents.”
    Once again, you are right. This sends the message to residents that the only space to support their well-being is associated with physical exercise.
  • “Our monthly “wellness newsletter” promotes our fitness offerings.”
    Once again, your communication channels with residents and how you promote monthly activities carry a connotation.

Slapping the term wellness on physical spaces, services, and communication channels narrows the potential, perspective, and understanding of how your community creates purpose and intention in resident lives. It also perpetuates the silos for staff and departments who have a stake in resident well-being, keeping them from seeing the potential of how their buy-in and collaboration can make an impact. (We’ll talk more about that collaboration piece in part 3 of this blog series.)

Questions for Starting a Wellness Branding Dialogue

Ask yourself these three questions as a guide in sparking dialogue in your community:

  • What person, space, or services would come to mind for our residents if we use the word wellness?
  • Does this connotation of wellness create opportunity for a broad application of purposeful lifestyle choices that spans the interests and passions of all residents?
  • What barriers can we identify that limit our potential for broadening that definition of wellness?

Identifying your current model and barriers is your first step in making positive change toward more effectively use that term “wellness” to your community’s advantage. And now that you’ve defined and branded wellness, part 2 of this series talks about the importance of designating a staff wellness champion for your community.

Wellness Consulting from NIFS

Need some support? NIFS provides wellness consulting to senior living communities across the US. Visit our website and download the “What to Expect from a NIFS Consulting Visit” for more information.

Find out more about NIFS Consulting Services >

Topics: senior living communities senior living fitness center communication lifestyle philosophy in senior living nifs wellness consulting wellness-based lifestyle wellness branding

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.

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

3 things I learned at the 2017 LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo

LeadingAge 2017.jpgThis week more than 7,000 professionals working in senior housing and related businesses converged in New Orleans, LA, to share their passions, learn from each other, and return back to their communities inspired to continue doing great work for the older adults they serve. I was honored to be at the LeadingAge annual meeting both as an attendee and as an exhibitor.

Typically when I go to a conference, I learn in two categories:

  • There's the "duh-why didn't I think of that...it's brilliant" way where I'm usually listening intently in a session, scribbling copious notes and the speaker says something that resonates deeply for me.
  • And there's the "thinking about it later" way that usually comes up when I'm reflecting on the day, on the people I met, and the conversations I had.

Below are a few of my takeaways that, not surprisingly, fall into both of those categories.

#1: Status quo does not equal thriving

My first session of the conference was "Nature Meets Nurture: Designing a WELL Building". The content of the presentation was interesting; I had read some about the WELL Building Standard, and the session helped me get a better understanding of how the standard applies at a more practical level. What struck me during this session was when one of the speakers categorized the Standard as moving forward, moving beyond the status quo.

I realized that's true of so much work being done in senior living. Status quo is not the same thing as thriving. Moving forward, doing better, trying new things is not equal to doing what we've always done. Of course, this isn't just true for how we build communities; it's true in the areas where NIFS works as well, including building and executing on a life enrichment or fitness program strategy, and I have already started looking with fresh eyes at how we can help communities move past their status quo to build thriving living environments for their residents.

[Read More: 5 ways wellness consulting helps meet the mission of your community]

#2: There is no single solution

There is no one-size-fits-all solution that works in every community and the volume of providers stationed through the exhibit hall is proof. Even in our work with a family of communities all united under the same brand, our delivery of services is unique per location because the resident and client desires drive the strategy. The LeadingAge expo was a great reminder that communities deserve creative and flexible partners who are willing to adjust their models to meet unique needs.

The flip side of the creative partner coin is the open-minded senior living community.  If you strolled the expo thinking (or saying) you don't need X product/service because you already have it covered, see #1 above.  Maybe rethink that "we already do that notion" and give a second look to the information you gathered form the expo before you put it in the recycling bin.  There just might be a nugget in there to help your community make a move toward thriving.

 #3: Resident engagement is everyone's job

LeadingAge 2017 (2).jpgAs I sat in the Redefining Resident Engagement session with Michelle Holleran and Tim Johnson, I was intrigued by the Holleran model for the four domains of engagement. (Grab the whitepaper here.) My early thoughts were all around how much the domains are the resonsibilty of a communitiy's life enrichment director.  [Full disclosure - that role is kind of a sweet spot for NIFS as we consult with and provide staffing solutions for communities in that role.]  However, the further we got into the session, the more I realized how deep the idea of engagement really runs. 

There are lots of ways to improve traditional activities in communities, and many of those opportunities rest squarely with your Life Enrichment staff doing their jobs differently.  Yet, beyond the prominent role your Life Enrichment department plays in facilitating opportunities for resident engagement, it is the entire community supporting those opportunities, connecting with residents, and communicating with each that is the foundation for engagement.  Residents also have to be present at a fundamental level.  We should not be simply filling an activities calendar and calling it done.  For strong engagement, we have to invite residents into their own life story and then step back to allow them to live it.  


If you attended the 2017 LeadingAge Annual Meeting and Expo, I'd love to hear your key take aways in the comments below.

Topics: senior living senior living communities senior living wellness programs LeadingAge LeadingAge 2017 resident engagement senior living status quo

Improve your senior living fitness program by outsourcing the staff

If you believe it's time to offer more to current residents and prospects through your exercise program, but you're not quite sure what that "more" entails or how to get there, outsourcing might make a lot of sense for your community.

Outsourcing isn't just for therapy

The primary benefit to looking at a partner for management of any area of your community is the value of the depth and breadth of the firm's experience. Communities don't think twice about outsourcing therapy but when it comes to taking a closer look at the reasons to outsource management of the fitness center and related programming, I sometimes get blank stares from leadership. And I can't explain it. Certainly, how we provide service, the nature of our contracts with our clients, and the credentials of the staff we provide for community fitness is different from therapy groups, but the overall concept is the same. If you want an expert-run fitness program, you have to work with the experts. 

I’ve had the opportunity to work with NIFS for many years with multiple communities and I can say without exception that they have taken the wellness program in our communities to a new level. They are the best in the industry at what they do, and I would not hesitate bringing them in to any senior housing community that I am affiliated with. Our communities are stronger with NIFS on their team.  ~Mick Feauto, COO, LifeSpire of Virginia

NIFS math | LeadingAge | Senior Living

NIFS Math

NIFS staff in your community are backed by an our organization that is uniquely focused on the specific work of elevating your fitness program. We're regularly supporting continuing education for our team and we have a proven model for effectively sharing resources so our clients get far more than the one NIFS manager on the ground. We like to call it "NIFS math" where 1 + 1 = 3.

 

What to expect from your fitness program

4399_KF_3163.jpgYou need your fitness center to be a hallmark, a standout for the community. For your current residents, it should be one of the most praised offerings both because the staff are well-loved and because they are effective at keeping residents engaged with new, consistent, well-done offerings. The fitness program should also be on the list of reasons prospective residents choose your community. But if the group fitness calendar and the personal training services look the same as all the competition, and if you don't have the necessary data to tell key stories about how resident's lives have been improved by participating, then you're missing out on an opportunity.

NIFS clients see a lot of value in their partnerships because they gain much more than "just a trainer" for their gym. Check out some of the services we provide that aren't common to most community fitness programs:

  • Balance Redefined includes rich programming and services focused specifically on balance training and fall prevention; our Balance Redefined offerings were built from, and regularly evolve because of our experience with dozens of communities over the last 15 years.
  • Key data points for the fitness program are regularly reported and smartly used to continuously improve what we're offering in each client setting. From tracking participation per resident to evaluating outcomes and goals on our programs, we are constantly checking in on and reporting our progress.
  • Reaching residents in assisted living and memory care environments with quality fitness services can be a real challenge. Our staff provide that outreach through strong relationships with community lifestyle coordinators. Modified balance assessments, group classes, personal training, and hybrid health-related programming are all tailored for the unique needs of residents in those settings.

[Related Content: 4 Keys to Getting Data You Can Actually Use]

Find out how you can put NIFS math to work in your community. Contact us or stop by and see us at the LeadingAge Expo.  We'll be hanging out with our calculators doing NIFS math in booth #1261.

Topics: senior fitness management CCRC fitness center senior living communities senior fitness group fitness for seniors fitness center for seniors leading age LeadingAge senior wellness consulting

Balance Redefined: Residents benefit from dedicated balance classes

IMG_2730.jpgFall prevention. It's a big deal in senior living. When a resident falls, the costs can be significant for both the individual and the community. So it makes sense to have comprehensive programming that focuses on physical balance. And yet, whether we're consulting with a community or we've recently started managing their fitness program, it's really common to discover that even the most basic of opportunities to promote balance is missed when group fitness calendars lack dedicated balance classes.

The reality is that a comprehensive strategy to improve resident's balance involves so much more than a group fitness class on the calendar, and that’s why we take an approach that is both broad and deep to help decrease fall risk for residents in both independent and assisted living environments. But we have to begin at the beginning, and that means adding dedicated balance classes.

It's time to put dedicated balance classes on your calendar.

It's not enough to address balance training as a 20 minute segment in your strength class. Your Tai Chi class also isn't comprehensively handling your resident's need for improving their balance. The physiological mechanisms that have to work together to achieve optimal balance are complicated and they warrant their own dedicated class on the calendar. Without fail, when we've started with a new client and brought balance into the program in a more bold fashion, that specific class fills up quickly. A dedicated balance program provide substantial benefit to residents to help increase their confidence, and it allows your community to stand with your brand promise for an vibrant living backed with safety and security that is second to none.

[Related Content: How to Fall and Get Back Up Safely]

Essential elements of a successful balance class

In the last 15 years that we've been managing fitness centers in senior living communities, we've learned a lot about what works for the residents we're serving. Below are a few considerations as you look to enhance what you're offering.

  • If your population supports it, offer different levels of balance class so that all participants can be continually challenged. You likely work with residents who represent a range of physical capabilities; despite those differences, they all benefit from balance training, so build classes that can help even the most daring participants feel like they've worked hard.
  • Include elements of complex movement patterns where the core and lower body muscles are activated; add in brain fitness components that train participants to react both physically and mentally as they would in their everyday environment. Ideally, the classes should be designed with research-based movement patterns including the following:
    • Standing or sitting on an unstable surface
    • Keeping the eyes open or closed
    • Tilting the head in different positions
    • Turning the head or tossing a ball to respond to instructor commands
  • Consider the small equipment you have and how you can use it differently or commit small amount of the budget to buying additional items that will enhance balance classes. Balance pads, BOSU trainers, and weighted balls are all good additions.

[Related Content: Is Your Senior Fitness Program Challenging Enough?]

It’s not your typical march in place, balance on one foot and perform 10 squats type of class! It’s dynamic and just as mentally stimulating as it is physically for participants. If your fitness instructors or group class instructors aren't sure how to pull together a full class focused on balance, connect with us to find if consulting might benefit your exercise program.

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Topics: senior living communities balance training balance redefined