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Posts tagged: older adults

Getting the Balance Right

Post by Colin Milner, Founder and CEO of the International Council on Active Aging®

Does your center or community have a yoga studio or personal-training area? If so, odds are that you offer these programs because of growing demand or as a new way to meet your clients’ needs. With the youngest Boomers celebrating their 50th birthday this year—and exponential growth in older age groups for many years to come—many new opportunities are available to support health and wellness. One such opportunity is a “balance center.”

Why balance?

What is a balance center, and why should you consider adding one? A balance center offers you the ability to address a significant need in the older-adult population—one that will only become more pressing given today’s changing demographics. Consider the picture in the United States, for example:

•  One in every three people older than 65 will fall this year.

•  Approximately half the age 65-plus individuals who have fallen will fall again in the next 12 months.

•  Strength- and balance-training programs could reduce the number of falls by up to 40%.

Few older adults have their balance screened by a physician prior to a fall despite the fact that many have a higher fall risk due to changes linked with aging. Yet falls can cause life-altering injuries or death. Even when individuals avoid injury in a fall, the fear associated with falling again can lead to social isolation, depression and a downward spiral in health. So falls have immense emotional and financial effects on older adults and their families and caregivers.

By addressing this issue with a balance center, you can expand your reach and tap into more than 30% of the age 65-plus market—all while helping individuals reduce fall risk, maintain independence and improve quality of life.

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Constructing Functional Environments for Older Adults

By ICAA

The environment(s) that we build or live in are vital to enhancing our quality of life and our life experiences. Environments can encourage, or discourage, people of all ages to lead an active, engaged life. When it comes to creating compelling environments for your older consumer, think about how to design and build them so they are inclusive of all people and their abilities.

One place to start is with a visioning process. Bring together your staff, consumers, vendors and key partners to share their thoughts on your current or proposed settings, and what they feel will make the environment more compelling. Many times it can be the little things that make a difference. From the colors you choose, to ease of use, and creativity to inclusiveness, how you incorporate details matters.

Another strategic approach is to hire a group of older adults to visit your current place of business and those of your competitors. Ask them to write down what they liked and what they did not. Did the lighting make it easy to see? How were the bathrooms and locker rooms? Did the front desk, fitness areas, café, and so on enhance the experience or detract from it, and why? What would they change to make the environment more engaging? Once you have gained this market intelligence, create a large storyboard where recommendations, pictures and more can be placed in full view of your staff. (A meeting room or office area is the best location.) Start the process of improvement, and don’t stop until you have addressed everything on the board. Then ask the same group to walk through your location again. What are their reactions now? This simple method can help you create a compelling, inclusive, and ageless environment for your business.

A thought to ponder: Environments provide experiences, good and bad, and good experiences create memories that bring consumers back. How will you make your environment(s) compelling?