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Staff and management should support an “I can” attitude among older members


make your club more accessible and appealing to older members without alienating younger members. It’s vital, too, to recognise that ageing


occurs over the whole of our life. We need to educate people of all ages how the things we do at each stage of our life affect our health and wellbeing. For example, in our younger years,


physical activity is important for developing strong bones and building a ‘bone bank’ or reserve for later life. In our later years, physical activity helps minimise bone loss and keep bones strong. Think about holding seminars and bringing experts to your club to help members, guests and staff better understand ageing over the life course and how to optimise their health at every age – whether young, middle-aged or older. You can also counter ageism by


becoming aware of how certain attitudes and actions towards older individuals may promote or reinforce negative perceptions of ageing, then strive to change them. Ageing expert Jan Montague suggests a move from a paternalistic, ‘tell and command’ approach towards older members to a


‘listen and learn’ approach that promotes self-effi cacy. Rather than focusing on what’s wrong with individuals and trying


to change them, Montague suggests clubs could focus on what’s going right for them to help them maximise these positive areas and feel valued as successful, active individuals. These strategies for staff and


management rely on a very simple philosophy: support an “I can” rather than an “I can’t” attitude among older members. This will enable them to move from being a passive recipient to an active, engaged user of your services – and in turn will help them want to stay involved.


summary Before you start changing things, your


perceptions included, answer this question: Do I really want the business of the fastest-growing segment of the population? A segment that has money, and that spends a huge amount of it on their health and wellbeing? If you answered ‘yes’, the process of


transformation can start now. It will enable you to tap into the US$2 trillion global wellness industry. But few of these opportunities will


truly take root unless we change the expectations we have of growing old. We must move away from the idea of decline and decay, towards the concept of untapped human potential and capital. Let’s start now, shall we?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR Colin Milner is the founder and CEO of the US-based International Council on Active Aging (www.icaa.cc). He has acted as an adviser to organisations including the World Economic Forum’s Network of Global Agenda Councils, the European Commission Directorate- General for Health, the Canadian Senate Committee on Ageing, the US Department of Health and Human Services, and the National Institute on Aging. Prior to this he managed health clubs, founded Canada’s fi rst national fi tness trade magazine, was VP of sales and marketing at Keiser, COO of the Keiser Institute on Aging and president of IDEA.


The leader in specialist cardio exercise for active ageing


“Every industry needs its leaders and, as a Preferred Vendor of the International Council on Active Ageing, SCIFIT delivers real solutions for the active ageing market.” Colin Milner CEO, International Council on Active Ageing


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