Physical inactivity

This ALCOA project was undertaken on the basis of strong and consistent evidence that physical inactivity is a health risk.

The overall goals of this projects were:

  • To facilitate opportunities for older adults to maintain and increase participation in physical activity in order to improve their health, functional independence and well-being.
  • To address the many barriers older adults experience as they try to become more physically active.
  • To offer a broad range of physical activity opportunities among the sedentary or less active and at risk groups.

The project focused on three target at-risk groups.

Low - Income Older Adults
Aboriginal Communities
Long-Term / Home Care

Low - Income Older Adults

The main activities of this project included a national telephone survey, focus group testing, development of a communication strategy to promote active living and the pilot testing of the "Fit for Your Life" strength training program.

What did the project accomplish?

A communications strategy for promoting active living among older adults with low incomes based on fostering the positive influence of others, identifying the health benefits and increasing the pleasure of physical activity. The stages of becoming aware, becoming motivated, taking action, experiencing rewards and continuing to participate in physical activity were identified. A report highlighting the results of the 8 week strength training program is available.

Project Partners:
One Voice, Canadian Seniors Network and University of Alberta

Aboriginal Communities

In this initiative, a national Elders Talking Circle used stories and traditions to guide their way and community feasts to bring people together, leading to pilot projects in six Aboriginal communities in Alberta.

What did the project accomplish?

  • Increased awareness at the community level about the needs of the Elders within the community. Elders expressed joy and pleasure at being recognized as advocates for community health.
  • Priority given to the needs of Elders by Native Health Centres in their planning and budgeting processes.
  • The Medicine Wheel as a model for Active Living; this model is based on the Aboriginal teachings that embrace the elements of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.

Project Partners:
University of Alberta and 7 Aboriginal Communities

Long-Term / Home Care

Focus groups exploring the development of active living programs in these settings, a national survey of existing programs, case studies of innovative programs and evaluation of an existing Home Support Exercise Program were part of this initiative. Outcomes were increased awareness of workable programs and a model of program development based on resources, education, attitude and partnerships (REAP).

What did the project accomplish?

  • A catalogue of 200 innovative programs, nation-wide, which promote active living and functional independence.
  • Seven case studies which provided valuable information about the philosophy and details of organizing and operating innovative and successful programs.
  • An understanding of insights of older adults in home care and long-term care settings about their perceptions of barriers to active living and their advice to those trying to develop and promote such programs.
  • The REAP (Resources - Education - Attitude - Partnerships) model as a template for development of innovative programs.
  • Tips on how to implement a successful home support exercise program based on an evaluation of an existing program.

Project Partners:
Canadian Home Care Association and Canadian Association for Community Care

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