A Survey of Exercise Programs in Senior Living Facilities in the State of Illinois

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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This study evaluated nontherapeutic exercise programs offered in senior living facilities (SLFs), which included nursing homes, licensed and nonlicensed continuing care retirement communities, and senior independent living apartments. Exercise programs were evaluated on five criteria: number of different classes offered, instructors’ employment titles, exercise setting, program staffing levels, and amount and type of exercise equipment. Data revealed that chair exercises were the most common form of exercise, followed by stretching and supervised walking. The majority of exercise leaders were employed full-time (60%) but did not have degrees in exercise science, physical education, nursing, or physical therapy. Programs were mainly offered in multipurpose rooms or in other areas such as dining rooms, hallways, or lounges. Less than 27% of the SLFs followed American College of Sports Medicine exercise guidelines. This study found little consistency in the type of exercise programs offered to older adults in SLFs. Future research should evaluate the effectiveness of exercise classes offered in these facilities.

Mieke G. Wasner was a student in the Department of Physical Education, Northern Illinois University, at the time of this study. James H. Rimmer is with the Department of Physical Education, Northern Illinois University, Anderson Hall 232, DeKalb, IL 60115-2854. Direct correspondence to Mieke G. Wasner, Brucknerstr. 2a, 42549 Velbert, Germany.

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