Seniors Pilot Program Info
Is your club a
good fit for our Seniors Can Move Pilot Program?
If you’re thinking about offering the Seniors Can Move program, here are some of the considerations that will help you determine if it’s a fit for your club and community.
The market: Is there a need in your community? Do you have a growing population of seniors who lack fundamental movement and fall prevention programs targeted specifically at their needs?
Transportation: Many seniors are unable to drive. Can the seniors in your community take public transit to your location, or is there a community group willing to help with transportation? (Seniors’ centre, care home, Lions Club, Rotary Club or similar organization with a shuttle bus or drivers.)
Accessibility: Is your facility accessible to someone with a walker or cane?
Seating in your waiting area: Do you have a place where seniors can sit while they are waiting for class to begin, or for their ride to take them home? Do you have staff in the waiting area who can offer help if needed?
Community connections: This program requires your club to connect with seniors’ facilities and organizations within your community to promote the program, and collaborate on logistics such as transportation.
Daytime timeslots: Do you have timeslots during the day that are open for this program? Do they overlap with programs for children to provide a stimulating intergenerational environment?
Fun, patient, trained coaches: Gymnastics coaches are trained to break core skills into smaller movements that can be learned and practiced. This program requires the same “small steps” approach to fundamental movements such as walking, marching, throwing and catching. The curriculum is similar to an Active Start program, but without an emphasis on an end goal. For some participants, the small steps will be the achievement.
Seniors have unique needs during exercise and coaches need to be able to modify moves on the go to accommodate a range of abilities, and provide an emotional and physical safety net that will allow participants to try new things. Since one of the goals of this program is increased social interaction and play, the ideal coach will run a fun, lively and supportive class.
Time to train: This program is targeted at a new market for most clubs. Coaches who are experienced in teaching fundamental movements to children will have some of the necessary skills, but that experience must be adapted to the needs of geriatric participants. They have different abilities, health concerns, and safety issues – and their progression will look markedly different from that of younger club members. DGS will provide initial training before the pilot begins.
A range of foam mats and blocks at different heights: When we teach participants to fall, we start by having them fall several inches and then gradually increase the distance.
Safety-first approach: Every responsible gymnastics coach puts participant safety first. That said, the consequences of falling for a senior with osteoporosis are more serious than the consequences for most of your club’s athletes. Coaches will need to anticipate issues, accommodate safety concerns, and make it comfortable for participants to go at their own pace.
On-site AED and CPR training: While sudden cardiac arrest occasionally happens to young athletes, the risk rises with age. An on-site Automated External Defibrillator (AED) can save a life.