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2009 press releases

ICAA survey: lifestyle programs for older adults are growing

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International Council on Active Aging survey shows industry is expanding wellness programs and renovating or building new wellness/fitness centers

VANCOUVER--The results of the ICAA Wellness Buying Trends survey confirm that wellness programs for older adults are a vital tool for promoting active aging. Active aging is summed up in the phrase “engaged in life.” Individuals participate in life as fully as possible, regardless of socioeconomic status or health conditions, within the active-aging framework.

A wellness program for older adults includes all the programs, activities and facilities geared to support active aging, whether a fitness center, theater or computer lab, and the clubs, lectures and classes that fill them.

To explore how wellness programs are being implemented to support active aging, International Council on Active Aging, the association that supports professionals who develop wellness and fitness facilities and services for adults over 50, conducted a survey of the association’s members and colleagues. This online survey was completed by 388 professionals representing a mix of retirement communities (about 62% of respondents) and community-based service organizations, such as seniors centers and health clubs.

The survey found that areas of growth include both programs and facilities.

Programs are expanding. Most (88%) of the respondents work in organizations that currently have a formal wellness program for their residents or clients. Almost all of these organizations (93%) have already increased wellness activities in the prior two years. In a resounding confirmation of the value of wellness for older adults, virtually all of them (98%) plan to expand the programs they already offer.

New buildings and renovations are increasing. Nearly all respondents (91%) report they have a wellness or fitness center—a dedicated space for wellness activities. Nonetheless, 41% are planning to build a new center or renovate their existing facility. This group is planning to purchase new equipment, add new services, add square footage to an existing facility or make other major renovations.

“The results of ICAA’s survey show that retirement communities, seniors centers and other organizations understand that a well-managed wellness program that has adequate space and resources can have enormous positive impact on the health and quality of life of older adults,” points out Colin Milner, CEO of ICAA.

“The physical activity, social interactions and intellectual stimulus generated by wellness programs produce results that meet many of the national goals for population health,” says Milner. “These programs enable older adults to maintain or improve their physical functioning so they need less assistance; they help prevent depression and cognitive decline. Older adults who are healthier and happier volunteer, tutor kids and contribute years of knowledge to boards and commissions.”

“Wellness programs and facilities that support older adults also support society,” Milner believes.

The results of the 2008 ICAA Wellness Buying Trends Survey are available in three reports: “ICAA Wellness Buying Trends Topline Results,” “Wellness center development and renovation trends” and “Physical fitness equipment trends.” Another relevant report, “Wellness Programs,” contains some of the data. All the reports are available through the International Council on Active Aging. Visit www.icaa.cc or telephone 866-335-9777 or 604-734-4466.

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About the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA)
ICAA is the world’s largest membership association dedicated to changing the way we age by uniting professionals in the retirement, assisted living, recreation, fitness, rehabilitation and wellness fields. The council supports these professionals with education, information, resources and tools, so they can achieve optimal success with the growing population of people who are 50 years and older. As an active-aging educator and advocate, ICAA has advised numerous organizations and governmental bodies, including the US Administration on Aging, the National Institute on Aging (one of the US National Institutes of Health), the US Department of Health and Human Services, Canada’s Special Senate Committee on Aging, and the British Columbia ministries of Health, and Healthy Living and Sport.

For interviews or more information about ICAA or aging-related issues, contact:

Colin Milner, CEO, International Council on Active Aging
Toll-free: 1-866-335-9777 (North America only)
Telephone: 604-734-4466; cell: 604-763-4595
Email: colinmilner@icaa.cc

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