Physical activity on a daily basis is important for the health and wellbeing of older people. Engaging in regular physical activity is known to provide numerous health benefits, including reducing the risk of chronic disease and disability, improving mental health, promoting social contact, and prolonging independent living.
There are many factors influencing whether older people engage in physical activity, including the availability and accessibility of opportunities, the appropriateness of activities and the allocation of community and organisational resources. Personal and social factors can also play a role.
The Victorian Active Ageing Partnership (VAAP) is funded by the Victorian Government and aims to increase opportunities for participation in physical activity for older Victorians, especially in areas of socio-economic disadvantage and among isolated, lonely older people currently not involved in physical activity. The audience for the VAAP is service providers of physical activity opportunities for older people.
This podcast will outline various strategies and tools that have been developed by the VAAP in recent years. These include an evidence-based best practice framework to guide community-based organisations and individual service providers in their engagement of older people in physical activity programs. A self-assessment tool, based on the framework, has been designed for organisations to review and develop their operations and practice, in order to improve physical activity opportunities for older people in Victoria. Strategies designed to engage older people who are often ‘harder to reach’ will also be outlined as will the key elements of transition pathways designed to maximise the sustainability of exercise when older people move from one setting to another.
The recording is of a webinar presented by ESSA on 2 July 2019.
Presented by Prof Ben Smith, BSW(Hons), MPH, PhD & Ms Genevieve Nolan, DipTeach(Primary), BSW, MPH
Ben Smith is Professor of Public Health (Prevention and Health Promotion) in the School of Public Health at the University of Sydney. For over 20 years a primary focus of his work has been the development and evaluation of strategies that can used to increase physical activity in clinical and community contexts. This has included education and counselling, mass media, community development, and digital health strategies, with findings of this work published in over 100 peer-reviewed articles and numerous reports. Recognising the physical, mental and social benefits offered by supervised and group-based physical activity, he has worked with a range of government and non-government agencies to optimise the delivery and reach of these programs. Currently he is Project Advisor to the Victorian Active Ageing Partnership, funded by the Victorian Government, and the Active Neighbourhoods for Older Australians project funded by Sport Australia. Alongside his research and evaluation work, Ben has had a long-term engagement in undergraduate, postgraduate and professional education concerning health program design and evaluation.
Genevieve has worked at Musculoskeletal Australia since September 2011 in the role of Programs Manager, Policy, Information and Programs Unit and has principal responsibility for the coordination of the organisation’s suite of training and education programs. In addition to the duties of her substantive role, Genevieve is the Manager of the Victorian Active Ageing Partnership (VAAP), a four-year Victorian Government initiative that aims to increase the physical activity opportunities for older Victorians. The VAAP also has a focus on areas of socio-economic disadvantage and among isolated, lonely older people not currently involved in physical activity. The audience for the VAAP is service providers in a range of organisational and private settings. Prior to working at Musculoskeletal Australia, Genevieve worked in various roles within the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services.
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