Senior wellness solutions: planning programs that participants will get a “kick” out of
Implementing a wellness program at any skilled nursing, assisted living, or independent living community can help improve the strength, balance, mobility, and cognitive health of patients and residents. Too often, we think of traditional activities for older adults, but any activity can be adapted to the capabilities of individuals at your community.
Offer enjoyable senior wellness solutions
To prevent patients and residents from abandoning a new fitness regimen, senior wellness solutions may need to go beyond resistance training and other standard practices to include routines that seniors will really get a kick out of. At SeniorFITness, we do this by focusing on physical activities that seniors enjoyed when they were young.
I recently had the honor of demonstrating this type of wellness program at the 2014 Life Services Network Annual Meeting. During the Senior Fitness through Martial Arts Training session, attendees performed the type of karate movements we teach senior participants in order for them to see and feel movements that can be modified and still provide a benefit.
Focus on what matters most
Some seniors may initially find karate movements such as stepping backward to be a challenge, but they can quickly master these moves. The key to the success of this type of program is focusing on building skills such as coordination and balance. We also break each movement down to meet the abilities and capabilities of skilled nursing, assisted living, and independent living residents, which can vary greatly by community.
Senior fitness programs like these are progressive, so that participants continue to learn new skills and improve their physical fitness. In addition, we incorporate other important aspects of wellness, including mental health, emotional strength, and environmental awareness. For example, as part of our SeniorFITness Martial Arts Club (SMAC) classes, we help students develop a more positive attitude about aging – rather than letting the changes their bodies are going through get them down.
An ounce of prevention
Proactive exercise keeps seniors more physically capable and independent for a longer time. So, instead of having to put Humpty Dumpty back together again after a fall, your community can prevent patients and residents from falling in the first place.
Senior wellness solutions like SMAC also create a much more positive environment and provide social interactions that simply won't occur in other types of exercise classes. In addition, you can challenge participants to recruit others to attend, which will give them a renewed sense of vigor.