Who’s Who in Senior Fitness

Monday, October 31st, 2011 by American Senior Fitness Association   View This Issue of Experience!

Kay Van Norman, MS, is an internationally known writer, speaker and wellness consultant. She directed the Keiser Institute on Aging for three years, and serves on both the International Council on Active Aging and American Senior Fitness Association (SFA) boards.
She’s written two books, several chapters and scores of journal articles on aging well, and her educational resources won a Best Practice Award from the National Council on Aging (NCOA). Kay is the founder and president of Brilliant Aging, a consulting firm committed to promoting lifelong vitality and inspiring brand loyalty for companies interested in bringing positive lifestyle strategies to senior consumers.

Kay is a thought leader on the topic of ageism and has been a catalyst for action through national and international organizations. She wrote a 2006 issue brief on ageism for NCOA’s Center for Healthy Aging, co-authored a chapter for the World Economic Forum — 2011 Global Action Council on Aging monograph titled Media Portrayal of Aging, and has been instrumental in the International Council on Active Aging Rebranding Aging Movement. Her books, speeches and field-tested wellness resources have helped older adults around the world confront ageism and take consistent action to support well-being, regardless of challenges.

Kay is well known for her ability to translate research findings from multiple disciplines into actionable tools and innovative solutions for diverse industries and audiences. As Director of the Keiser Institute on Aging she worked with world renowned researchers, industry leaders and practitioners to bridge the gap between research and practice in the fields of gerontology, senior housing, fitness and older adult wellness. Her mission and passion is tapping into the universal desire for lifelong vitality and mobilizing it into action — for both individuals and companies.

Kay believes that each individual should receive the opportunity to reach his or her personal potential. She likes to remind people that “age has less to do with who a person is and what they’re capable of than almost any other single factor.”

“I also encourage people who work with older adults to take a close look at the successes of the disability movement derived from looking at possibilities rather than disabilities,” she says. “Young people with disabilities receive resources, opportunities and social support to overcome disabilities and excel in spite of them. Yet adults who are challenged with a disability later in life are often simply given tools to cope with disabilities. There’s a profound difference between a mindset of coping with, versus overcoming, challenges – one that directly impacts expectations, interactions and outcomes. As individuals and as an industry we can work to change expectations and opportunities for older adults challenged by disabilities and functional limitations.”

Kay elaborated on those principles in an article that appeared in the August 4, 2010, issue of SFA’s Experience! newsletter. To view, click on Senior Living Models Revisited.

“I believe the health care crisis is not going to be solved by government programs,” Kay continues, “but instead by individuals inspired into action for their own well-being, and by companies worldwide who mobilize resources to reach out to their customers with healthy lifestyle strategies.”

Kay and her family enjoy living in Montana, where she has seven horses! She can be reached at (406) 587-0786. Learn more at www.kayvannorman.com.

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