Improving Senior Fitness Programs & Dementia Care (Canadian Centre for Activity & Aging)
Our team worked alongside the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA) to improve senior fitness programs and dementia care through volunteering at weekly exercise classes, assisting with fitness assessments, and creating two tangible deliverables. Our first deliverable was a Wordle; a tool for visualizing the modifiable risk factors of dementia. By consulting existing literature, we concluded that hearing loss, low education status, depression, and smoking were the main modifiable risk factors. This Wordle will be used for future research and educational purposes. Our next deliverables targeted the fitness aspect of the CCAA. We helped facilitate weekly instructor-led fitness classes and recorded our observations each time. We also conducted a functional fitness assessment to obtain baseline measurements of each participant’s functional abilities. Future measurements can then be compared with these values to evaluate the fitness classes’ efficacy at reducing or ameliorating declines in physical functioning. Some assessments required more time to complete than others, which reduced testing efficiency. Participants had the most difficulty with the timed up-and-go, 30-second arm curl, 30-second chair stand, and 2-minute step tests. Male participants were less likely to meet established standards compared with their female counterparts. Measurements were recorded using the Healthy Active Living Database (HAroLD) which was straightforward but difficult to use in real-time. Observations and recommendations were summarized with an infographic that will inform the CCAA’s management team about our contributions this term. Future students working with the CCAA can use our deliverables to improve the curriculum.