The Challenges and Opportunities of Healthy Aging Programs
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The Challenges and Opportunities of Healthy Aging Programs

January 14, 2013

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Last month, NISC members shared their secrets to making evidence-based healthy aging programs successful.

This month, hear what they had to say about challenges and opportunities—all gathered from our national survey of 122 centers across the country.

Challenges and Barriers

While senior centers were overwhelmingly positive about the value of offering evidence-based healthy aging programs, they did identify some obstacles:

  • Costs: "The classes that we do fill require more publicity, press releases, and personal invitations and are staff-intensive, so we tend to limit offerings to once per year or less. We charge participants and have an endowment to offset costs. Otherwise, I think the classes would be cost prohibitive."

  • Staffing: "Most of the difficulty is in not having enough professional staff to assist with the programs and having ADRC staff that do not have the wellness background go to trainings and then try and run programs."

  • Space: "We don't have the space available to provide a class that requires participation three days per week."

  • Volunteers: "We have a difficult time finding volunteers to commit to the time involved in the programs."

  • Resources: "We lack staff and resources to train a leader and the space to provide the activity."

Opportunities to Expand

Despite these challenges, senior centers also identified opportunities to expand evidence-based healthy aging programs in their community.

As one respondent noted, “senior centers are ideal delivery sites for these programs, but it is difficult to bring an evidence-based program into one town and one senior center."

The solution, this center said is "to develop collaborative partners and identify funding streams.” 

Partnerships with community and state organizations are key to building capacity, resources, and infrastructure, centers reported.

Here are some additional resources to help your center get started:

  • Find your state contact for the Chronic Disease Self-Management Program.
  • Explore how to sustain your evidence-based program.
  • See a list of programs that meet the highest criteria from the U.S. Administration on Aging.



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