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Do You Believe in Older Adults? (excerpt)

As professionals in the active aging field, our work revolves around the health and well-being of seniors, but are we collectively doing and believing enough?

Michael E. Rogers, PhD, CSCS, FACSM

Editor-in-Chief, Active Aging Today

Michael E. Rogers
Michael E. Rogers

Do you believe in older adults?


As professionals in the active aging field, our work revolves around the health and well-being of seniors, but are we collectively doing and believing enough? Articles in the September/October issue of Active Aging Today raise questions about whether we collectively could be doing more to better serve our clients.


In “Why Exercise Interventions Struggle to Succeed,” Ellen Freiberger, PhD, addresses three key ways that exercise interventions fail. One of the problems, she writes, is that some health practitioners simply don’t believe that older adults have the capacity to participate in physical activity programs; this misguided belief can kill an effective program before it begins.


However, other research shows that when older adults believe they can do something, they set out to do it, even when they have physical limitations. In “Health Perception, Physical Activity, and Coping Strategies of Older Adults Volunteering for Habitat for Humanity,” researchers at the University of Tennessee discovered that even when older volunteers reported physical problems, they perceived their health as being excellent or good, and remained active despite limitations.


There’s also good news in Europe. Believing that older adults want to take charge of their health, local governments in Spain are commissioning the construction of “bio-healthy” exercise parks. Designed especially for seniors, these free facilities encourage exercisers to get active any time of day. Read all about it “Government Builds Bio-Healthy Parks for Older Adults in Spain.”


Perhaps these articles will uncover ways you might be unknowingly discouraging seniors’ participation in programs and services that could benefit them. In turn, I hope you will be inspired to consider additional ways to engage and support your clients.


Let us know what you do to serve and support older adults. Contact me at And please remember that we are always looking for article contributions and ideas. If you would like to write for Active Aging Today or have an article idea, please contact me at

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