A myriad of activities can enhance health and well-being. The key is to find the right ones for an individual. One example of how we can encourage people to find what works for them is ICAA’s Active Aging Week.
Now in its ninth year, Active Aging Week, September 25–October 1, promotes the benefits of active, healthy lifestyles for adults over 50. During that time, host sites invite older adults in their local communities to experience free wellness activities and exercise in a safe, friendly and fun atmosphere. Below are some insights from veteran organizers as well as some general planning tips for participating in this kind of health promotion event:
Save the dates. Give people plenty of notice to avoid scheduling conflicts.
Initiate planning early. Begin your planning cycle as early as possible to have time to develop a vision and create support materials.
Target the audience. Consider the target audience for your activities. The identity of your target audience will influence the goals you set, the partnerships you seek, and both the activities and approaches you use.
Decide on goals. Consider the specific goals you want to achieve through your activities, and let those goals guide your planning. Your objectives will focus your decisions through the planning stages. Plus, determine how to measure the success of your efforts.
Seek out partnerships. Determine the resources you will need and approach other organizations about forming alliances. These resources might include staff, facilities, expertise, contacts and funding, for example. Others to contact include organizations that might provide speakers and/or volunteers, or offer cash or in-kind donations.
Have a checklist. Make sure you know what you need to do, and when, in the months leading up to the event. To help Active Aging Week organizers, ICAA provides a general “five-month plan” listing the major planning stages, as well as a planning checklist of more detailed tasks (see below).
Work with colleagues. Bring colleagues into the planning process, as they can help in selecting goals, promoting the health promotion event, and supporting or leading activities. Also, seek out colleagues who have the skills to help with specific planning tasks, such as writing press releases or creating marketing approaches
Call in volunteers. Start a volunteer team and involve this group in creating a vision, spreading the word about activities, and carrying out plans
Use ICAA resources. Visit the ICAA website for free support materials used to help Active Aging Week hosts plan and implement this event. Resources include fact sheets; formats for media advisory, press release and calendar announcements; logos; posters; certificates of participation; and more. A bevy of “planning guide” articles offers programming inspiration and practical information, while planning worksheets include a marketing matrix and lists that hosts can customize to meet their needs. To access these resources, go to the ICAA Web site.
Active Aging Week activities may be the opportunity individuals need to step outside their comfort zone, finding that perfect activity that lets them be active their way. How can you take advantage of ICAA resources for Active Aging Week to help launch people on their way to healthier, active living?