Grant Proposal: Physical Activity for Seniors

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Physical Activity

Physical Activities and the Elderly: A Grant Proposal

At every age, it is imperative to remain physically active. Individuals who maintain a lifestyle that includes regular physical activity and exercise can significantly reduce their vulnerability to obesity, heart disease and a host of other conditions associated with a sedentary lifestyle. As important as physical activity is across one's life cycle, it takes on yet a greater importance as individuals enter the later stages of adulthood. For the elderly, regular physical activity represents opportunities for movement, stimulation, social interaction and emotional gratification that cannot be otherwise replicated. And more importantly, the retention of this regular physical activity as a lifestyle orientation is likely to reduce the likelihood of premature mortality and to significantly increase life expectancy and quality of life. Unfortunately, it is also often the case that this group with the greatest degree of apparent need is often a demographic that has the greatest difficulty maintaining such a lifestyle. The grant proposal presented here is driven by this apparent gap between need and access. The proposal is also driven by the opportunity to help a selected community of individuals overcome these difficulties to achieve longer lives of a higher quality.

The present grant proposal identifies the benefits available to the elderly in becoming more active as well as some of the problematic barriers preventing improvement in activeness. Additionally, the discussion will identify a useful intervention approach for helping to rectify the conditions facing sedentary elderly individuals, paying a particular focus to the program for seniors at St. Anselm's. As the discussion and proposal will demonstrate, there is a need to produce a more comprehensive and inclusive exercise program at St. Anselm's that can help to improve the lives of seniors everyday. The proposal will utilize the health belief model as a way of intervening with sedentary behavior amongst the elderly while simultaneously designing a set of exercise programs at St. Anselm's that are moderate and realistic but which are also fun and healthfully beneficial.

Background:

Regular physical activity is a necessity for individuals of every demographic. A wealth of research demonstrates that the mind and body benefit alike from regular exercise or from a lifestyle which encourages regular motion. Moreover, the long that one refrains from physical activity, the more difficult it can be to re-establish a healthy exercise routine. This helps to underscore the particular risks which are faced by the elderly in falling into sedentary patterns. As muscle atrophy, reduced mobility and diminished lifestyle demands encourage less physical movement, so too do individuals grow more vulnerable to premature mortality from heart disease, hypertension or simply from a hastening physical decline. It is for this reasons, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)(2002) reports that millions of older Americans are the victims of preventable chronic illnesses. Accordingly, AHRQ points out that in a 1993 study, 14% of all deaths in the United States could have been prevented with more regular physical activity and a heightened nutritional awareness. (AHRQ, p. 1)

Our research goes on to demonstrate that a whole host of conditions that are common or increasingly common among the elderly can be offset, mitigated or at least lessened in their impact by the incorporation of regular physical activity into one's lifestyle. This denotes that the use of broadly fashioned modes of physical activity to address individualized health concerns is appropriate and can provide defense against a host of frequently co-morbid conditions. For instance, reports an article by Kovatch et al. (2012), many older adults report both feeling and appearing younger as a result of exercise and strength training. Moreover, such regular activities in early adulthood can lead to longer maintenance of the abilities that allow one to stay active into later adulthood. Kovatch also points out that there is a connection between regular physical activity and a reduced vulnerability to conditions often impacting the elderly such as heart disease, Alzheimer's Disease, dementia, diabetes, hypertension and colon cancer. (Kovatch, p. 1)

In addition to reducing the risk to these conditions which specifically afflict the elderly at substantially higher rates than their younger counterparts, background research tells us that physical activity is important as a way of transforming environmental risk factors as well. Such is to say that with the advance of age, individual and collective health are very much impacted by context and environment. A stagnant, negative and sedentary context can reduce both mental and physical health, leading to negative potential health and longevity outcomes. By contrast, a healthy, active and dynamic environment can promote a sense of well-being and a dedication to acts of vitality such as engagement in exercise. This is underscored in such claims as that provided by the Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports (2000), which finds that there is a need to combine both the individual and the environmental parameters of physical activity in order to pursue better public health outcomes. Accordingly, the source finds that with the continually growing size of the elderly population, finding ways to maintain more active and healthy lifestyles for our seniors can help them contribute to society into later life. The source in question asserts that there are clear public health benefits to incorporating greater involvement of the elderly in physical activities through policy change. (Michigan Governor's Council on Physical Fitness, Health and Sports, p. 4)

The Michigan initiative is consistent with our own California-based proposal, which denotes that the elderly are particularly suitable candidates for evaluation here. The grant sought here is intended to fund a program that will help St. Anselm's effectively engage its seniors in the pursuit of health regimens that are practical, effective, attainable and potentially life-saving. This grant proposal will be endorsed by the inclinations of the health belief model, which will channel the evidence of the benefits of physical activity to the aged into a message and program which helps the elderly in question to observe and appreciate these benefits as well.

Specific Aims:

In specific terms, the grant sought by this proposal will help to diversify, expand and increase in accessibility the programs already offered by St. Anselm's. At present, we find that St. Anselm's is already equipped in a preliminary sense for the needs of its elderly members. Accordingly, St. Anselm's does currently offer a fitness program geared toward seniors which provides them with a one-hour tai-chi class for one hour on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. While this avails the community's seniors a semi-regular destination for physical engagement, the program does reflect certain limitations, not the least of which is its schedule. According to the AHRQ, there is a specific demand to provide seniors with nearly daily physical activity, even more so than is true for younger adults. The AHRQ reports that one of the pressing problems correlated to this public health issue is that most older adults are not able to engage in the recommended minimum of 30+ minutes of activity five days a week. The AHRQ reports that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), roughly 28-34% of adults aged 65 to 74 and 35-44% of adults ages 75 or older do not engage in any leisure physical activity." (AHRQ, p. 1)

This underscores the need to create opportunities and to provide encouragement for seniors to find ways of engaging physical activity for at least the requisite five days a week. It is thus that the grant proposal is girded by the specific aims of garnering the resources to allow St. Anselm's to offer fitness programs for the elderly on a daily basis; by creating a more diverse array of avenues to physical activity; and by helping to draw the sufficient number of participants to justify this added availability, variation and accessibility.

Methods:

The Centers for Disease Control in the United States contends that the benefits of physical activity to the elderly are that it results in improvements in weight control, muscle retention, bone retention, strength endurance, mental health, self-esteem, blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Indeed, this is an explanation which only scratches the surface of what physical activity represents to the body. In light of the benefits discussed in the section above, it is appropriate to seek a formal means to helping to evaluate and improve the physical activity offerings at St. Anselm's. This rationale for the study is underscored by the belief that the failure to bring activeness to the lifestyles of sedentary elderly individuals will have dire consequences to the health and longevity of this target group.

This proposal is based on the values of the health belief model for a larger research endeavor, initiating from the condition established here denoting the promotion of healthy and effectively administered physical activity can help to improve quality of life and longevity for the elderly. A theoretical mode for evaluating the target population and the benefits and barriers facing it, the health belief model will be central in promoting the engagement of regular physical activity for those of advanced… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Physical Activity for Seniors.  (2012, May 16).  Retrieved October 23, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/physical-activity-seniors/3320964

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/physical-activity-seniors/3320964.