Guest Columns

Opening fitness facilities increases outreach

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Tony Galvan
Tony Galvan

We know that ranking high among the top priorities of seniors, is to optimize and maintain good health and wellness, and to stay on top of technology. It's by design and not by coincidence that these are two areas in which Monarch Landing excels. We boast a modern fitness and aquatic center with excellent instructors, and a state-of-the-art technology program.

Several months ago, Information Technology Director Jason Hedman and I devised a way in which to share these important assets with seniors within the Naperville area, who may not have access to such high quality services. Communiversity, Monarch Landing's outreach program, invites area seniors to participate in our programming.

Our fitness and aquatic center and fitness studio are beautiful and well equipped. This, in and of itself, is not unique in our area. What is distinctive about Monarch Landing is that our individual and group exercise sessions are tailored specifically to seniors, whose needs and goals are likely to be different than those of the general public. Many of the participants of the fitness track of Communiversity like to take advantage of our aerobics programs and water sports. Others favor the fitness equipment. All are able to spend time doing what they enjoy and what is most likely to help them achieve their goals, after I've done a careful assessment and helped them to develop an individualized plan.

Our technology track of programming includes instruction on email, Internet, word processing programs, digital photography and social media.  As new technology is introduced, we're quick to learn it as our participants are bound to want to be on top of it soon!

What we have learned from this initiative is that Monarch Landing has a lot to offer the greater community. Are there other state-of-the-art fitness facilities in the area? Absolutely.  But are those, along with the instruction and support provided, tailored especially to the very special and unique senior population?  Not necessarily, and that is what gives us an edge. The Communiversity participants put a lot of value on the individualization and specialty of what we offer. The same is true for the technology track.

As we move forward with Communiversity, we will seek to change our method of outreach. Initially, we used direct mail to target our audience.  What we learned is that word of mouth is more powerful for the population we're seeking to reach; and so we will take the opportunity to go to senior groups and programming where seniors tend to gather, to talk with them directly. We are very tied into our Naperville community and will capitalize on that more.

Additionally, we focused exclusively on fitness and technology, which are two of the most important areas in the lives of seniors. Next year we will work to add additional topics in which we have special expertise and that positively impact the lives of seniors.

Communiversity is complimentary for a 90-day trial, followed by monthly payments of only $30/track. We love having Communiversity available to the Naperville community as we feel that we have a lot of great programs to share!

Tony Galvan is the wellness manager at Monarch Landing in Naperville, IL.

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