International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults
Click here for the National Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors
The American Senior Fitness Association is proud to have been one of the original coalition members that developed the American National Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors* and to be a recognized supporting organization of the following international guidelines.
NOTE: American Senior Fitness Association educational programs have been designed to meet the following, internationally recognized, guidelines.
*Please see: APPENDIX D, U.S. STANDARDS. The National Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors were published by Jones, C.J. & Clark, J. (1998). National standards for preparing senior fitness instructors. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 6, 207_221.
in Collaboration with the Aging and Life Course, World Health Organization
Nancy A. Ecclestone, Canada
C. Jessie Jones, United States
The recognized value of physical activity in preserving functional capacity and reducing physical frailty in later years, combined with the support of the medical community, has resulted in numerous senior fitness and physical activity classes springing up in various facilities (e.g., senior centers, hospitals, recreation departments, health and fitness clubs, churches, YMCAs, community centers, retirement communities, long-term care facilities) throughout the world. Because of the lack of licensure or endorsement of training guidelines for preparing physical activity instructors of older adults, facility directors can hire whom they want, regardless of the instructors' educational backgrounds. People receiving little or no specialized training can advertise themselves as senior fitness instructors. Most older adults lack the knowledge and experience to determine whether the physical activity program in which they are participating is safe and effective. Experts in the field have argued that because of the range of medical conditions and functional abilities of the 65-and-older population, physical activity instructors of older adults require more knowledge, skills, and experience than instructors of younger adults. Unfortunately, because of the lack of endorsed curriculum training guidelines to prepare physical activity instructors of older adults, some training programs have not required instructors to attain essential knowledge and skills for instructing older adults in a safe and effective way.
Historically, the development of the International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults began at the 1996 World International Congress on Physical Activity, Aging and Sport held in Heidelberg, Germany. Delegates from several countries met and developed a draft document; however, the guidelines were never published. Subsequently, Canada developed national guidelines in 2003 (appendix A) under the leadership of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging and with the support of Health Canada. In the United States, representatives from six national organizations developed and published national standards in 1998 (appendix B). In 2003, the two separate documents from the United States (national standards) and Canada (national guidelines) were condensed into one document and titled the International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults. Then, a coalition of members from 13 countries and a committee from the United States (appendix C) agreed to review and make recommendations for this document. These international guidelines were then presented at the 6th World Congress on Aging and Physical Activity held in London, Ontario, Canada (August 3 to 7, 2004) by the co-chairs of this initiative, Nancy Ecclestone (Canada) and C. Jessie Jones (United States). The International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults is a consensus document that outlines each of the major content areas that experts recommend should be included in any entry-level training program with the goal of preparing physical activity instructors to work with older adults. The principles and perspectives of the World Health Organization (WHO) Active Ageing Policy Framework are reflected in this document. Organizations and coalitions currently endorsing the guidelines are listed in appendix D.
These guidelines can be applied to older adults across the continuum from healthy, independent older adults in community settings to functionally dependent older adults in long-term care. Advanced training would be necessary for instructors interested in working with older adults with severe disabilities or cognitive impairment in rehabilitation settings or managing and directing facilities, especially ones providing insurance reimbursement and those that serve a more frail older adult population.
Because of the complexity of the fitness industry and the differences in state and national requirements throughout the world, we believe that it is the responsibility of individual associations and organizations to develop the details of each major content area within each curriculum module, to develop appropriate areas of emphasis, and to develop performance standards that indicate the level of achievement expected of their students. Because of the varied functional ability levels of older adults, it is important to be aware of the target population (community-dwelling, able older adults versus homebound or institutionalized frail older adults) and to develop the content to meet the specific needs of that population.
PURPOSE AND DEFINITIONS
The purpose of the International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults is to
These curriculum guidelines are not being developed to promote one certification or licensing body of physical activity instructors of older adults, but rather to provide curriculum guidelines to encourage more consistency among instructor training programs throughout the world. These guidelines do not include recommendations for
Definitions of terms
The following terms are commonly used when discussing training modules.
instructor: A physical activity instructor is broadly defined as a professional who teaches, educates, and trains people to do physical activities.
TRAINING MODULE 1:
OVERVIEW OF AGING AND PHYSICAL ACTIVITY
Recommended areas of study include general background information about the aging process and the benefits of an active lifestyle.
TRAINING MODULE 2:
PHYSCOLOGICAL, SOCIOCULTURAL, AND PHYSIOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND OLDER ADULTS
Recommended areas of study include psychological, sociocultural, and physiological aspects of physical activity in order to develop safe and effective physical activity and exercise programs for older adults.
TRAINING MODULE 3:
SCREENING, ASSESSMENT, AND GOAL SETTING
Recommended areas of study include information on selection, administration, and interpretation of pre-exercise health and activity screening and fitness and mobility assessments appropriate for older adults. This information will provide the basis for exercise program design and appropriate referrals to other health professionals.
TRAINING MODULE 4:
PROGRAM DESIGN AND MANAGEMENT
Recommended areas of study include information about using results from screening, assessment, and client goals to make appropriate decisions regarding individual and group physical activity and exercise program design and management.
TRAINING MODULE 5:
PROGRAM DESIGN FOR OLDER ADULTS WITH STABLE MEDICAL CONDITIONS
Recommended areas of study include information on common medical conditions of older adults, signs and symptoms associated with medication-related negative interactions during activity and how to adapt exercise for clients with varying fitness levels, and stable medical conditions to help prevent injury and other emergency situations.
TRAINING MODULE 6:
Recommended areas of study include information about motor learning principles that guide the selection and delivery of effective individualized and group exercises and physical activities, and the construction of safe and effective practice environments.
TRAINING MODULE 7:
LEADERSHIP, COMMUNICATION, AND MARKETING SKILLS
Recommended areas of study include information on incorporating effective motivational, communication, and leadership skills related to teaching individual and group exercise classes as well as professional leadership skills, and how to create effective marketing tools for program and self.
TRAINING MODULE 8:
CLIENT SAFETY AND FIRST AID
Recommended areas of study include information on developing a risk-management plan to promote a safe exercise environment and respond to emergency situations.
TRAINING MODULE 9:
ETHICS AND PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT
Recommended areas of study include information on legal, ethical, and professional conduct.
Canadian Guidelines for Leaders of Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults in Long-Term Care, Home Care and the Community (2003) can be found on the Web site of the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging at www.uwo.ca/actage. These guidelines were produced as a result of the release, in the International Year of Older Persons (1999), of the following:
* Financially supported by Health Canada
Several delegates representing a cross-section of health-related perspectives were instrumental in contributing to the development of the Canadian Guidelines. These contributions were solicited on the basis of their expertise and not necessarily their affiliations. Delegates (66) to the forums (1Long_Term Care Forum, 2Home Care and Community Forum) that contributed to the Canadian guidelines include the following:
Elsie McMillan, St. Johnís Nursing Home Board, St. Johnís1
Janet OíDea, Memorial University of Newfoundland, Health Sciences Centre, St. Johnís1
Fran Cook, Memorial University Recreation Complex, St. Johnís2
Moira Hennessey, Department of Health and Community Services, St. Johnís2
Patricia Nugent, Health and Community Services, St. Johnís Region, St. John2
Prince Edward Island
Marilyn Kennedy, Acute and Continuing Care, Department of Health and Social Services, Charlottetown1
Pat Malone, Senior Services Liaison-Acute and Continuing Care, Department of Health and Social Services, Charlottetown1
Lona Penny, Dr. John Gillis Memorial Lodge, Belfast1
Sharon Claybourne, Island Fitness Council, Charlottetown2
Denise Dreimanis, Nova Scotia Fitness & Lifestyle Leaders Association, ALCOA Speakers Bureau Dartmouth1
Debra Leigh, Continuing Care Association of Nova Scotia, Halifax1
Lygia Figueirado, Continuing Care, Government of Nova Scotia, Halifax2
Andrea Leonard, Home Support Association of Nova Scotia, Halifax2
Flora Dell, Active Living Coalition for Older Adults (ALCOA), Fredericton1
Vicky Knight, Fredericton1
Ron Davis, Camden Park Terrace, Moncton2
Phillipe Markon, Ste. Famille, Ile díOrleans1
Jaques Renaud, Association des Etablissments Prives Conventionnes, Montreal1
Clermont Simard, DEP_PEPS, Universit√© Laval, Sainte_Foy2
Jane Boudreau_Bailey, Chelsey Park Nursing Home, London1
Liz Cyarto, Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, London1
Nancy Ecclestone, Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, London1,2
Clara Fitzgerald, Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, London1,2
Janice Hutton, Canadian Association of Fitness Professionals, Markham1
Marita Kloseck, Division of Geriatric Medicine, Parkwood Hospital, London1
Jody Kyle, YMCA St. Catherines, St. Catherines1
Darien Lazowski, Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, London1
Stephanie Luxton, Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, London1,2
Karen Macdonald, Canadian Red Cross Link to Health Program, Mississauga
Sandra Mallett, Allendale Long Term Care, Milton1
Colleen Sonnenberg, Ministry of Health and Long_Term Care, Toronto1
Sue Veitch, Kingston1
Gabriel Blouin, Institute for Positive Health for Seniors, ALCOA, Ottawa2
Lynne Briggs, Advocacy Committee, Older Adult Centres Association of Ontario, Evergreen Seniors Centre, Guelph2
Carol Butler, PSW Program, Fanshawe College, London2
Trish Fitzpatrick, Client Services and Program Development, CCAC Oxford County, Woodstock2
Hania Goforth, Recreation Services, Lifestyle Retirement Communities, Mississauga2
John Griffin, George Brown College, Toronto2
Joan Hunter, Link to Health, Canadian Red Cross, Toronto2
Janice Hutton, Canadian Association of Fitness Professionals, Markham2
Jane Miller, Ontario Fitness Council, Toronto2
Don Paterson, University of Western Ontario, Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging, London1,2
Sheila Schuehlein, VON Canada, Kitchener2
Nancy Stelpstra, Ontario Fitness Council, Guelph2
Bert Taylor, University of Western Ontario, London1
Bruce Taylor, Health Canada, Ottawa2
Sue Thorning, Ontario Community Support Association, Toronto2
Cindy Greenlay-Brown, West St. Paul1
Jim Hamilton, Manitoba Seniors Directorate, Winnipeg1,2
Hope Mattus, Health Accountability Policy and Planning, Seniors and Persons With Disabilities, Manitoba Health, Winnipeg1,2
Russell Thorne, Manitoba Fitness Council, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg2
Angela Nunweiler, Community Care Branch, Saskatchewan Health, Regina1
Bob Lidington, Saskatoon Home Support Services, Ltd, Saskatoon2
Jennifer Dechaine, Alberta Centre for Active Living, Edmonton1
Timothy Fairbank, Capital Health Authority ADL/CRP, Edmonton2
Debbie Lee, Calgary Regional Health Authority, Calgary2
Debbie Ponich, Alberta Fitness Leadership Certification Association, Provincial Fitness Unit2 Faculty of Physical Education & Recreation, University of Alberta, Edmonton2
Carol Hansen, Kwantlan University College, Surrey 1, 2
Linda Mae Ross, Continuing Care Renewal Regional Programs, Victoria1
Catherine Rutter, McIntosh Lodge, Chilliwack1
Barbara Harwood, NLTI Project Advisory Committee, Speakers Bureau ALCOA, North Saanich2
Cheryl Hedgecock, British Columbia Parks and Recreation, Richmond2
Willy Shippey, Yukon Health and Social Services, Thompson Centre, Whitehorse1,2
Marjorie Sandercock, Yellowknife1
Jason Collins, Recreation and Leadership Division, Government of Nunavut, Igloolik2
The National Standards for Preparing Senior Fitness Instructors were published by Jones, C.J. & Clark, J. (1998). National standards for preparing senior fitness instructors. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity, 6, 207_221.
Chair: C. Jessie Jones, Council on Aging and Adult Development, American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness
A coalition of members from 13 countries and a committee from the United States made recommendations for the International Curriculum Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults.
UNITED STATES COALITION
SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS AND COALITIONS
Organizations and Coalitions supporting the International Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults as of this printing include the following:
American Association for Active Lifestyles and Fitness, Council on Adult Development and Aging
American Kinesiotherapy Association
American Fitness and Aerobic Association
American Senior Fitness Association
Desert Southwest Fitness, Inc.
International Council on Active Aging
National Blueprint: Increasing Physical Activity Among Adults Age 50 and Older
World Instructor Training Schools
Organizations and Coalitions endorsing the International Guidelines for Preparing Physical Activity Instructors of Older Adults as of this printing include the following:
Active Living Coalition for Older Adults
Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging
Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
Source: International Society for Aging and Physical Activity, 2004