Past and Current Partner Activities
International Council on Active Aging
You could say that Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging (ICAA), was a Go4Life fan before Go4Life even existed. Part of an earlier task force helping NIA update its Exercise and Physical Activity Guide – the precursor to Go4Life – Colin and the ICAA supported Go4Life’s mission long before the campaign’s 2011 inception.
Colin has long supported and celebrated the significant contributions most older adults make to their families and communities by engaging in life, being physically active, and challenging their own capabilities. He started the ICAA 18 years ago to change society’s perception of aging and improve the quality of life for aging Baby Boomers and older adults. With 10,000 member organizations now in 47 countries, ICAA is widely recognized as a leader in the field of aging through its Journal on Active Aging, its annual sponsorship of Active Aging Week, and its annual conference. In these endeavors and more, the ICAA strives to energize, educate, and inspire ICAA members and celebrate the positivity and accomplishments of older adults.
An original Go4Life partner, Colin has championed Go4Life, helping to spread the word throughout the ICAA’s broad membership. “We embrace the Go4Life partnership,” Colin says. “It meets our vision for a better today and tomorrow. As partners, we help people be active.”
Photo Caption: Older adults celebrate Go4Life Month by participating in an Active Aging Week event.
Affinity Living Group
Go4Life is a way of life. So says Julie Walker, director of dementia care for the Affinity Living Group (ALG). ALG is the seventh largest provider of assisted living in the country, and the fourth largest for Alzheimer’s disease and memory care in eight states. It offers person-centered care that strives to create life balance by addressing spiritual, cognitive, physical, and social needs of residents.
In the past year, Julie has introduced Go4Life into physical activity programming for both residents and staff at every ALG community to help residents focus on the four important Go4Life elements: balance, flexibility, endurance, and strength. ALG staff work with teams of local physical therapists and personal trainers to tailor programs specifically for needs of older adults in each community. Each community tracks resident participation in the exercise activities using an application created specifically for the campaign. This summer, ALG is presenting awards to the communities with the largest number of participants each month. ALG will celebrate Go4Life Month on September 19 with events at every one of its more than 130 communities.
According to Julie, everyone who is participating in the Go4Life programming is winning. Staff members find they are spending more time interacting with residents in Go4Life activities, helping them reduce falls and be successful in activities of daily living – and at the same time they are attending to their own good health. For Julie and the whole ALG family, “Go4Life is great fun and a huge success for all of us!” she says.
Photo Caption: A resident at an Affinity Living Group community participates in Go4Life exercise programming.
“The community is my classroom,” says Jan Dougan of Indiana’s Purdue Extension Service, a long-standing and very active Go4Life partner. “Our education programming covers raising children, eating right, spending smart, and living well. Go4Life partners perfectly with living well, as many of our small rural communities lack access to fitness facilities. It lets us help people understand the importance of physical activity with free resources and exercises they can do at home.”
Much of the population Jan serves is rural, making in-person presentations particularly important. Jan works with area partners and makes Go4Life presentations with members of the Extension Homemaker organization and other community organizations and agencies. During Go4Life Month she has promoted Go4Life with a news release and appearances on local television, distributed Workout to Go in area libraries, and last year initiated a Go4Life Exercise Day in libraries. She also launched a “Go4Life Challenge,” asking participants to use Workout to Go at home at least twice each week. Participants reported loving it and successfully meeting the challenge. Jan also created a YouTube video where participants held up a pledge card they had filled out describing why they wanted to become more active. This year she hopes to start an intergenerational activity such as a walk in the park. Interestingly, Jan notes libraries’ growing interest in active living programming — in part due to their involvement with another Go4Life partner, Let’s Move in Libraries.
“Go4Life” has been motivating for me,” Jan says. “I understand how important it is to keep moving as we age. The World Health Organization has identified physical inactivity as the #4 cause of death in the world. If we all move more, we can live longer, healthier, better lives.”
Photo Caption: Jan Dougan, Extension Educator in the Health and Human Sciences Department at Purdue Extension in West Lafayette, IN, is interviewed on local television in a three-part series devoted to Go4Life and healthy aging.
Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing
Using Go4Life resources to help older adults improve their quality of life
“Physical activity is doable and important at all ages,” says Rhonda Zonoozi, an exercise physiologist and health coach at Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Arizona’s West Valley. Firmly committed to healthy living for older adults, she has been an enthusiastic Go4Life fan—and partner—for several years.
Sun Health offers senior living and community wellness education and programming in conjunction with other area organizations and hospitals. Rhonda firmly believes in solid, science-based information that helps older adults improve and sustain their quality of life. She provides older adults with NIA’s Exercise & Physical Activity Guide and other Go4Life materials. In addition to safe, reliable information about physical activity, Rhonda also finds the information helpful for diabetes prevention and self-management programs, weight education, and private consultations. For the past two years Rhonda has used the newer Go4Life Speakers Toolkit for community presentations during September’s Go4Life Month, and she promotes Go4Life through Sun Health’s marketing team and monthly magazine.
Rhonda says that access to Go4Life resources has been invaluable: “I’ve fallen in love with everything Go4Life has to offer.”
Photo caption: “At Sun Health Center for Health & Wellbeing in Arizona, Rhonda Zonoozi uses the Go4Life Speakers Toolkit in a presentation to older adults about the benefits and the basics of regular physical activity.”
Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival
Promoting fitness across the lifespan in an annual week-long fitness event
A few years ago, Charise Stephens realized that as she was getting older, she needed to take stock of her own fitness journey. She then imagined an event that would pair good fitness programming and resources with local residents of all ages. Thus was born the Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival in Macon, Georgia.
The first Festival—the only one-week fitness event of its kind in the United States–was held in 2014, with about 1500 attendees. The Festival is now a highly anticipated annual community event, with attendance growing tenfold over the years. Because Macon is an AARP Age-Friendly Community, Charise created an intergenerational event, attracting families and participants of all ages with popular activities such as yoga, walking, biking, swimming, dancing, and more. A few years ago, she started an annual Go4Life Walk for seniors in Central City Park in Macon where a new senior center is located—a perfect match for holding indoor and outdoor fitness activities. Last year, the Festival held its first Intergenerational Fitness Day at the Central Georgia Technical College Titans Arena with events for all ages throughout the day. This year’s Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival will take place September 2-8 during Go4Life Month.
Charise says “I’m thrilled to be a Go4Life partner. Go4Life has helped me reach a huge number of older residents with excellent information. I’m happy!”
Photo caption: “Charise Stephens, Director of the Georgia Wellness and Fitness Festival, poses with an older adult at last year’s Go4Life outreach event held at the Historic Tubman Museum and attended by more than 300 older adults.”
Successful Aging and Frailty Evaluation (SAFE) Clinic
Using voice-activated technology to deliver Go4Life exercises.
At the University of Chicago Medicine (UChicago Medicine), Megan Huisingh-Scheetz and Louise Hawkley, are determined to help frail older adults regain strength and stay socially connected. Huisingh-Scheetz is Co-Director of the Successful Aging and Frailty Evaluation (SAFE) Clinic, and Hawkley is a psychosocial physiologist focusing on the interconnectedness of social life, health, and aging.
UChicago Medicine’s 8-year old SAFE program incorporates Go4Life to help frail older adults maintain physical activity following physical therapy. “We selected Go4Life and the Workout to Go booklet because we trust the science and find it safe and easy for our patients to use,” says Huisingh-Scheetz.
She and Hawkley are co-developers of a new program, EngAGE, which uses smart speaker technology to interface with older adults and their selected caregiver or family member. EngAGE delivers tailored Go4Life exercises that change daily to target different muscles and adjust based on the user’s reported level of difficulty. Caregivers can use a web application to see the exercise routine, send encouraging messages, and provide tech support if needed. Older adults in EngAGE focus groups are highly enthusiastic about using this new technology to improve their health.
“I am eager to introduce EngAGE to the Go4Life partnership,” says Huisingh-Scheetz, “and to explore ways to make it widely available for frail adults in the clinical setting.”
Photo caption: Megan Huisingh-Scheetz shares Go4Life information with older adults at the Successful Aging and Frailty Evaluation (SAFE) Clinic.
National Senior Games Association
Advocating for safe physical activity among older adults.
The National Senior Games Association (NSGA) is dedicated to motivating active adults to lead healthy lifestyles through the Senior Games Movement. Participating senior athletes qualify at state levels before taking part in national games.
NSGA activities offer something for people of all ability levels. Many compete at a relatively high level of intensity in sports such as triathlon, track, and swimming. For others who wish to take part in less intense activities, NSGA and participating states offer competitions in sports such as shuffleboard and horseshoes.
“Our mission is to promote active senior living through education, fitness and sport,” says NSGA Director of Health and Wellness Andrew Walker.
NSGA promotes Go4Life’s messages and resources at its annual conference and at state events through its e-newsletter, social media, and a Go4Life information webpage with a focus on September’s Go4Life Month, falls prevention and safe balance activities.
“We are honored to be a Go4Life partner,” says Walker. “Go4Life perfectly complements our mission and helps us expand our efforts for safe physical activity among older adults.” For more information, visit www.NSGA.com
Photo caption: “Participants take off in the 10K athletic event at the 2017 National Senior Games in Birmingham, AL.”
Let’s Move in Libraries
“This is how libraries look today!”
Let’s Move in Libraries is an international initiative to get people of all ages and abilities moving in public libraries. As director of the initiative, Dr. Noah Lenstra, Ph.D. documents the growing numbers of movement-oriented programs in public libraries. His research has shown that 1,100+ libraries in the U.S. and Canada offer physical activity programs, and 40 percent of them include activities for older adults.
With mottos like “Books are Only Half the Story,” (Nashville Public Library) and “Librarians Can Lead You on the Path to Healthy Aging” (American Library Association), libraries are fast morphing into places where older adults can not only read about healthy aging, but also take health-promoting classes such as chair yoga, tai chi, stretching, strength training and more.
Photo caption: The Golden Warriors Fitness Troupe meets every Tuesday at the Natural Bridge Branch of the St. Louis County Library for gentle exercise designed to keep them fit and healthy as they age.
Noah counts as one of his greatest successes increasing conversations among librarians about how to capitalize on their unique role by supporting healthy aging in their communities. Now an active participant in the Go4Life in Libraries mini-project, he is applying this experience to the Go4Life effort to enhance community partnerships between Go4Life partners and local libraries. Noah regularly refers librarians to Go4Life’s free resources, and he also enjoys connecting with other Go4Life partners and increasing their awareness about physical activity opportunities in the public library setting.
So the next time you visit your local library, check to see if it has physical activity programs for older adults like the one pictured. As Noah says, “This is how libraries look today!”
American Physical Therapy Association
“We’re passionate about working with the aging population and the National Institute on Aging.”
So says Hadiya Guerrero, a Board-certified Clinical Sports Physical Therapy Specialist and Senior Practice Specialist with the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Hadiya’s earlier work with older adults and veterans at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN and Harlem (New York City), and an NIH course on health disparities and minorities were perfect preparation to continue the ongoing efforts of the APTA-Go4Life partnership when she joined APTA two years ago.
APTA has enthusiastically spread the word about Go4Life through web links and information in APTA’s newsletter, PT in Motion, as well as to APTA’s councils: Health Systems Council, Council on Prevention, Health Promotion and Wellness, and the community HUB of the Program Diversity and Women’s Initiatives. As a result, many APTA members and staff ordered the Go4Life Toolkit and other materials for use during Go4Life Month and in their practices. “We so appreciate this partnership opportunity,” Hadiya adds. “We are dedicated to the older population, and our partnership with NIA and Go4Life makes our members proud.”
Geri-Fit Company, LLC
“Go4Life helps Geri-Fit extend its reach.”
Fran “Geri” Fisher is the program developer and owner of Geri-Fit® Company, LLC, a national evidence-based group exercise program for older adults of all ages and fitness levels. The program aims to help people improve their ability to age gracefully and remain in their homes for as long as possible.
Geri-Fit and Go4Life share an important goal: to help older adults become more aware of the importance of exercise for good health and to help them build it into their daily lives. Geri-Fit programs incorporate stretching, stability, balance training, and gait exercises. Fran Fisher has been an enthusiastic Go4Life partner since the campaign’s 2011 inception.
We asked her what the Go4Life partnership has meant to her. She said she loves the shared national reach and Geri-Fit participants’ access to useful Go4Life exercises and materials, such as Workout To Go. “Together as a team,” Fran says, “we can reach so many more people with important information than we could ever do alone.”
Milpitas Senior Center
“Keeping Seniors on their Feet!”
In her role as a Senior Advisory Commissioner, Melba Holliday helps oversee and plan programming and events at the Milpitas Senior Center in Milpitas, CA. Melba first heard about Go4Life a few years ago through her participation in The Women’s Health Initiative Strong and Healthy (WHISH), which lists Go4Life as a resource. (The Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) Extension Study, funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in 2015, tests whether increasing physical activity reduces heart disease and stroke in older women.) She read through the Go4Life information and materials and thought the program would benefit the older adults who visit the Center.
Milpitas Senior Center has a large, multicultural membership of approximately 1300 individuals. On any day, about 125-150 older adults take part in a range of Center activities. Since Melba introduced Go4Life to the “Walk with Ease Class,” she has seen the improvements in balance and endurance that class participants can experience. She notes that some who began the class by walking around a room indoors with difficulty can now more easily walk outside at far greater distances. The Center also uses Go4Life resources in a variety of other exercise classes such as Zumba and line dancing, and the Center’s personal trainers use the materials with their clients.
Melba looks forward to holding a special Go4Life event for 2018 Go4Life Month in September. She says her overall goal is to “Keep Seniors on their Feet!”
Sunrise Senior Living
“See How Sunrise Senior Living Incorporates Go4Life into its Residents’ Daily Lives”
Sunrise Senior Living has been a close and active partner since Go4Life’s inception in 2011. Go4Life is one of Sunrise’s signature programs, and professional staff are strongly encouraged to use Go4Life resources in physical and life enrichment activities with residents.
Sandy Strathmeyer, the Regional Director for Memory Care and Programming (East), reports seeing residents with Go4Life’s Exercise and Physical Activity guide book and tip sheets everywhere she goes. And staff members love using the tracking and motivational tools, handouts, exercise videos, and virtual coaches with residents.
All residents are encouraged to participate in Sunrise’s daily Go4Life Walking Club, which takes place at every Sunrise site. Staff strive to develop many other types of creative and fun physical activities–for example, a walking scavenger hunt—that attract willing and enthusiastic participants.
Another favorite is Sunrise’s Go4Life intergenerational relay, which takes place every year at every site during Go4Life Month in September. For this event, Sunrise residents are paired up with a youngster and together they take a short, brisk walk around Sunrise premises to the delight of all involved.
Sandy underscores Sunrise’s commitment to the value of alignment of body, mind, and spirit. Together, Go4Life and Sunrise nurture those essential features of wellbeing.
The National Park Service
“Build Up Your Endurance with a Visit to a National Park”
National parks offer many opportunities to build your endurance amid beautiful scenery and breathtaking landscapes. A group walk, an exhilarating hike, or a brisk walk or jog with your dog are just a few ways to get your heart pumping. This week, the National Park Service, a Go4Life® partner, is celebrating National Park Week, and admission to any national park is free on April 15-16 and 22-23.
Don’t miss this opportunity to get moving and improve your fitness while enjoying the beauty of the Great Outdoors. These resources can help you plan your days at the park
- Find a national park near you.
- Find an event at a national park near you.
- See how to get a lifetime Senior Pass to a national park.
Success Fitness Chicago, LLC
Breakfast Club Fellowship Leads to Go4Life Exercises
These members of a men’s breakfast club at the Park Ridge Community Church follow their Wednesday morning meals with Go4Life exercises in the church gymnasium. Led by trainer Carol Longman A.C.E. of Success Fitness Chicago, a Go4Life partner, the 30-minute class focuses on building strength and improving balance, two of the four exercise types recommended for older adults.
At the first class, Carol introduced the men to the Go4Life Exercise and Physical Activity Guide and worked through the exercises in the book with them. The men quickly saw how they could include strength and balance exercises as part of their in-home workouts. As Herb, a member of the group, said ” It’s helpful that we have a take-home book that follows the exercises we do in class. The pictures and layout make it easy to find exercises and practice them.” With the help of a fitness instructor and Go4Life, these men have found a way to experience good fellowship, good food, and good moves —all in a single morning!
City of Daly City Library and Recreation Services
“Go4Life tools: practical, effective, fun…”
Leslie DuBridge, an employee of the City of Daly City’s Department of Library and Recreation Services and a Certified Wellness and Life Coach, is a long-time Go4Life partner who has found creative ways to involve older adults in many Go4Life-related activities. “Crunch then Lunch” sessions, strength training, and Go4Life Walks are among the many activities she has organized. She recently led this Seniors Pre-Lunch Fitness session at Doelger Senior Center in Daly City, CA — and also composed this poem about Go4Life and its partners. Go Leslie!
Go… Go…Go4life Partners!
Keep doing what you do
Serving our seniors to help them move
Stay encouraged & know that you’re valued
Your reach to one, helps a multitude to be empowered.
Lifestyle fitness is our aim
Go4Life tools: practical, fun, effective
Of this, let us joyfully proclaim!
The Health Network of Wisconsin
“With Go4Life, we are improving lives…”
The Health Network of Wisconsin, a homecare agency and Go4Life partner, works directly with older adults in their homes and senior living communities. By introducing Go4Life where they live, Outreach Coordinator Sandy Borkovetz is able to establish rapport with residents and help them build and maintain strength. The homecare agency’s goal is to help older adults remain independent for as long as possible—even if they have chronic health conditions or mobility issues.
Sandy uses the Go4Life Speaker’s Toolkit to educate, motivate, and help residents set their personal goals. Using available Go4Life exercise materials, she instructs them in the four essential Go4Life exercise groups: strength, balance, flexibility and endurance. Finally, in each community, Sandy looks for a Go4Life exercise enthusiast with a compassionate, loving attitude who is willing to help sustain the Go4Life program at that location. At one location, she is working to set up an exercise area featuring Go4Life posters, tracking tools, and information materials.
Sandy says, “With Go4Life we are improving lives both physically and emotionally, thereby lifting the human spirit.”
Silver Linings Integrated Health
“Offering age as an image of beauty…”
Adrienne Ione founded Silver Linings Integrated Health in Takoma, Washington in 2012 and signed on as a Go4Life partner in 2015 when she first heard about the program, which she calls “a perfect fit. An enthusiastic Go4Life partner, she is committed to the integration of mental and physical wellbeing among older adults. Whenever possible, she also incorporates the natural environment into programming, believing that nature magnifies the learning process.
Throughout the year, Silver Linings educates community members through classes and Go4Life materials, including posters and handouts. Safety and fun are two pillars of her programs, which include free community classes, such as 45-minute mindfulness walks and yoga stretch sessions held in local parks. Each week during September’s Go4Life Month, classes focus on one of the four essential exercise types: strength, balance, flexibility, and endurance.
Adrienne says that her life philosophy is aging actively and thinking positively. As she states on the Silver Linings website, “In a culture that glamorizes youth, I aim to offer age as an image of beauty.”
The Villages Health
“Go4Life improves everything we touch on here.”
Amy Wixted is the Wellness and Education Manager of The Villages Health at the Villages retirement community in central Florida. Her overall mission is to make The Villages—currently home to more than 120,000 residents and growing—the healthiest retirement community in the country.
Go4Life has been incorporated into every possible activity since the campaign started in 2011. A wealth of available activities supports good health and active aging—wellness seminars, diabetes and nutrition education, and a huge range of physical activities program that includes A Matter of Balance, Bone Builders, tai chi, and many more. Residents beginning new physical activities must commit to watching Go4Life videos on the website to be sure they are doing exercises correctly and safely.
Amy finds that Go4Life materials work for everyone, giving even the most sedentary residents a path to becoming active, and ensuring that more active residents incorporate all four recommended types of exercise. “Go4Life improves everything we touch on here,” Amy says. “It provides a trusted link to good information and resources for our residents. Go4Life is a true gift for us.”
JCC Association of North America
“Go4Life has been an invaluable partner.”
Steve Becker, vice president for Health and Wellness Services and director of Corporate Partnerships for JCC Association of North America, serves as a resource for staff at 120 member JCCs throughout the United States and Canada. In that position, he helps promote professional growth and identifies new program opportunities to benefit both staff and members. Go4Life is one of those programs.
Steve led the way for the JCC Association to become one of Go4Life’s original partners when the program started in 2011. Since joining, he has continually displayed Go4Life on the Association’s Program Partners website. Through newsletter and listserv notifications, he has encouraged health and fitness staff to consider Go4Life programming, especially during Go4Life Month every September. Local JCCs have picked up the theme by creating Go4Life tip sheets, holding educational programming, and developing a calendar of Go4Life Month classes and events.
Steve underscores the value of the partnership to the Association and its member sites this way: “Older adults are one of the JCC’s core populations. Anything we can do to promote healthy lifestyles benefits this population and the JCC community as a whole. Go4Life helps us keep health and fitness staff up-to-date with excellent, science-based information about physical activity and exercise for older adults that they otherwise may have missed. Go4Life has been an invaluable partner.”
Go4Life Month Happenings
See how organizations around the country are celebrating Go4Life Month and getting older adults up and active in September!