July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 18

RESEARCH
Parks and Recreation Supports Older Adults
By Melissa May and Allie Ziegler
P
arks and recreation is for all people at every stage of life. In 2022,
baby boomers and older generations (characterized as those born
before 1965) accounted for 26 percent of the U.S. population,
while Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1980) made up
around 20 percent. These large segments of the population give parks and
recreation a unique opportunity to serve and provide facilities, programming
and other critical resources that support the lifestyle and diverse needs
of these residents. NRPA recently released a report, titled Supporting Older
Adults Through Parks and Recreation (nrpa.org/SupportingOlderAdults),
that highlights how local park and recreation agencies and their staff serve
older adults. The report touches on the facilities, services, outreach, programming
and challenges found when providing accessible and affordable
evidence-based programs and safe, inclusive environments to aging adults.
Ninety-two percent of park and
recreation agencies offer older
adult-related
resources and
programs.
The most widely offered
activities include exercise classes
(89 percent), sports and games (86
percent), arts and crafts classes (73
percent), and volunteer
opportunities
(73 percent). Other popular
programs include special events and
festivals, field trips, cultural enrichment
opportunities, social clubs, and
organized group outdoor recreation.
Nearly every park and recreation
agency indicated promoting social
connection and addressing social
isolation as top benefits of older
adult programming. One avenue
agencies are pursuing that has proven
to be very beneficial in encouraging
social connection is intergenerational
programming. These
opportunities
allow for
children
and older adults to interact, bond
and exchange knowledge. Nearly
one-third of agencies offer this type
of programming. The most common
intergenerational activities are
reading groups, arts and crafts, gardening,
food and cooking classes,
18 Parks & Recreation | JULY 2 0 2 4 | PARK S ANDRECRE AT ION . OR G
and mentoring opportunities.
Evidence-based programs have
also been highly beneficial for the
well-being of older adults. Classes
like SilverSneakers®
and Tai Chi
encourage daily movement, improve
balance, provide opportunities
to socialize, and provide physical
and mental health benefits. This
could not be achieved without a
variety of facilities. More than half
of agencies deliver programming
at recreation centers, parks, trails
and greenways, senior centers, and
community centers.
Partnering with other community
organizations helps agencies
meet the
increased demand for
older adult activities and programs.
The most common partner organizations
are senior living housing
providers (74 percent), area-wide
agencies on aging (71 percent), libraries
(70
percent),
older adult population.
The vast majority of park and recfaith-based
organizations
(64 percent) and local
hospitals/healthcare providers
(56 percent). These partnerships
allow agencies to access other facilities,
reach more users and provide
unique programs that appeal to the
reation agencies offering older adult
programming have seen an increase
in participation post-coronavirus
(COVID-19) pandemic. To accommodate
this increase in older adult
participants, 62 percent of agencies
have added additional programs and
offerings compared to 2019. And
staffing for older adult programs is
the same as in 2019 for 56 percent of
agencies, while 31 percent have increased
their staff in this certain area.
Park and recreation agencies provide
amazing opportunities for older
adults, but it does not always come
easily. Ninety-four percent of agencies
indicate they have challenges in
bringing older adult programming to
their residents. Aside from funding
and staffing, facility-space shortages,
lack of public awareness and engaging
older adults from diverse communities
are the biggest challenges.
Park and recreation agencies implement
a range of special efforts to
reach underrepresented groups in
the older adult community. Common
methods include working with
leaders from local underrepresented
groups, offering low-cost programs
for low-income residents, hosting
language classes, providing sites for
nutrition programs, offering transportation
for people with disabilities
and more. Parks and recreation
strives to be a welcoming, safe place
for individuals of every race, identity,
ability and age.
Melissa May is Senior Research Manager
at NRPA (mmay@nrpa.org). Allie Ziegler
is Research Assistant at NRPA (aziegler@
nrpa.org).
http://www.nrpa.org/SupportingOlderAdults

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of July 2024 – Parks & Recreation

July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Intro
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 1
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 2
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 4
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 5
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 6
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 7
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 8
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 9
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 13
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 17
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 18
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 19
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 20
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 21
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 22
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 30
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 31
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 43
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 47
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 48
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 49
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 50
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July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 54
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 55
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - 56
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover3
July 2024 – Parks & Recreation - Cover4
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2024
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2023
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/february-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/january-2022
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/december-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/november-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/october-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/september-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/august-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/july-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/june-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/may-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/april-2021
https://ezine.nrpa.org/nrpa/ParksRecreationMagazine/march-2021
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com