Meet the needs of our seniors
- Go outside of your wellness destination (some people call it a fitness center, gym or club) and open the front door.
- How heavy is it?
- Imagine a fitness-challenged senior trying to open that same door.
How about walking from the reception area desk toward a class or circuit weight area – are there welcoming faces and staff eager to share information and assistance along the way?
A very useful checklist from ICAA is available for download – “How to Select an Age-Friendly Fitness Facility.”
The checklist raises several critical, yet perhaps easily overlooked, questions for fitness center operators eager to embrace the senior market.
You will have plenty of great ideas for orientation, engagement and making the social connection your potential senior (and least active/inactive potential clients) need.
A recent report from IHRSA, “Why People Join, Stay, and Quit,” delves deeper into the motivations of the senior fitness market. The report found that the top three motivations for seniors are:
- a desire to feel better,
- lose weight, and
- address a specific health concern
Furthermore, the study found that attractive selling points include: the promise of improved overall health/wellbeing, a wide variety of equipment, and access to group exercise/fitness professionals.
The report also made senior-centric programming suggestions, such as weight loss, wellness (e.g. available medical personnel, health screenings, specialized group and private training), and opportunities for social interaction. At HCD we can work with your team so that effective strategies and programs able to enhance the social interaction piece can be easily offered at your destination.
The new Medicare law provides us with a fresh start-point for meeting the needs of our seniors.
Beginning January 1, 2011, Medicare will cover the full cost of an “annual wellness visit” to include, among other requirements, a body mass index (BMI) measurement, personalized health advice, and, where appropriate, a referral to a local program for counseling on healthy living, including weight loss, physical activity, smoking cessation, fall prevention, and nutrition.
As a result, over the next 12 months and every year thereafter, thousands of senior citizens in every community will be talking to their physicians about the importance of physical activity. For many, it will be the first conversation about physical activity they’ve ever had with their doctor.
To truly capitalize on the new Medicare law, however, it may be just as important to cater to the local medical professionals who will be writing seniors’ personalized health plans.
Action Items HCD can support:
- Do local physicians know about your facility?
- Are they familiar with your club’s program offerings and trained personnel?
- Are they comfortable referring seniors to your facility as a safe and effective outlet for physical activity?
- If not, are there opportunities for you to invite members of the local medical community to your club for a tour?