Issue

In Albany County, almost 67% of adults aged 65 and older are overweight or obese. At the same time, the number of adults who report no leisure time physical activity in Albany County is about 20%. For those aged 65 and older that number jumps to 30%.

Intervention

Knowing that many seniors of the Westview Senior Center, located in the city of Albany and part of the Albany County Department of Senior Services, wanted to find ways to become or increase their physical activity, director, Lynn Gross, chose the Active Living Every Day (ALED) program as the newest program offering at the center. ALED is an evidence-based 12-week program. Participants attend a weekly 1-hour group meeting and receive the ALED book and handouts to help them complete their work. For an additional fee, they also have access to the ALED on-
line resources that provide supplemental materials and tools that enhance the course, including links to many activity-related topics.

The ALED program gives participants practical and personalized ways to become physically active in everyday life by helping them learn how to:

  • Overcome barriers to physical activity
  • Set realistic goals
  • Build confidence
  • Stay motivated

ALED is based on the findings of Project Active; groundbreaking research conducted at the Cooper Institute. Project Active was a two year study comparing the effects of structured exercise with lifestyle physical activity. The study concluded that both interventions provided comparable increases in physical activity and cardiorespiratory fitness from baseline over 24 months as well as providing a useful alternative in helping people meet the public health recommendation for physical activity.

Reach and Impact

Every Tuesday morning for 12 weeks from April to February 2015, 11 seniors from the Westview Senior Center, participated in the ALED program and the participants “loved it”. Eledina Malcampo, a class participant spoke for the entire class when she said, ”… (The class) made us realize that there is so much yet to do that will keep us healthy and happy when we get to our golden years, rather than to opt to roll up our sleeves too soon…”.

Participants were recruited for the class through advertisement such as flyers as well as phone calls from Gross resulting in a mixture of both Westview Homes residents and outside community members.

Importance of Impact

As a result of the program’s success, Westview Senior Center has sponsored the evidence-based intervention, Walk With Ease, and is scheduled to offer another ALED series in the Fall 2015.

Resources Leveraged

Westview Senior Center is working with the QTAC-NY, part of the Center for Excellence in Aging and Community Wellness, to offer evidence-based interventions free to seniors that it serves. The QTAC-NY provides the program instructors and the Senior Center recruits program participants and provides the space. A winning combination that is good for all involved, including the most important people of all, the seniors.

Contact Information

Lynn Gross, Congregate Site Director of Westview Senior Center and South Mall Towers
c/o Westview Senior Center
680 Central Ave
Albany, NY 12206
Phone: (518) 482-2120