Empowering Seniors to provide Peer Support for Seniors’ Health and Wellness

 

“The program helped me lose weight and increase stamina and strength.  My blood pressure pills have been reduced by half and my mood is much improved.”  – participant


Rationale

A balanced diet, coupled with exercise, leads to better health in the population and among seniors in particular.  Additionally, a more active population may have fewer healthcare needs.

This project engaged seniors to achieve these benefits for themselves and other seniors, by addressing their fitness and nutrition concerns, and encouraging a healthy lifestyle.

Project Lead

Janice Monfries and HaiDong Liang, PhD –  Westend Seniors Activity Centre.

Partnerships: A team of professionals from the University of Alberta and the Edmonton West Primary Care Network including a nutritionist, a registered dietician, a senior’s recreational program planner and a fitness trainer.

  • “I think it is a wonderful program for seniors, we need to move and be productive human beings.”            – participant

 

The Project

Through this project, we were able to train, motivate and support a diverse group of seniors to lead a healthy lifestyle themselves and to become peer coaches for others. This eight-week program was repeated several times over the year of funding, and included a highly customized fitness program, nutritional workshops, cooking classes, and a monthly newsletter with motivational tips for healthy living.

Impact

This project led to a cohort of healthy seniors, who could model the difference of a healthier lifestyle and train their peers to adopt the same changes. 

  • “Access to health and fitness expertise; the personal commitment of leaders and participants is an inspiration to continue.” – participant

 

 

What’s Next?

The Seniors Helping Seniors program has been distilled down to focus on physical activity, and is now available as an online toolkit.  This format allows any seniors activity centre to access the tailored seniors’ physical activity program, the peer leader training guide and the seniors’ stretch routine.

To read more about other Innovation Fund Projects, click here.

For more information on this project, please contact Melissa Johnson 

  • “This is an excellent program which should continue to help more seniors!” – participant