Seniors Thriving with Outdoor Exercise Equipment

The Cause

Rocky View Foundation (RVF) is registered charity that recently purchased the Hampton Inn & Suites in Airdrie, for the purpose of redeveloping the hotel to become a 92-unit, Seniors Level 2 (SL2) lodge that will support an urgent need for affordable housing within city limits. The surrounding lands will be developed to provide spaces that promote physical activity and social engagement with community. Our vision is to create the Abrio Place Leisure Park, which will be a space that is easy to access and navigate, factors in safety and mobility considerations, promotes social gatherings, and reduces isolation. Our goal is to empower Airdrie seniors to live active lives and to thrive in their communities.

We are seeking funding to support the purchase and installation of seniors’ outdoor exercise equipment which will be the cornerstone feature of the Abrio Place Leisure Park.

The outdoor exercise equipment is designed to build social, emotional, and physical confidence for people of all ages. We will provide age-appropriate amenities that include therapeutic fitness products, cognitive activity panels, shade and site furnishings, and inter-generational activities that are well-suited for senior living facilities. They will be inclusive, accessible, and built to endure all types of weather. Site furnishings will also include seating, shade, lighting, bike racks, and waste/recycling receptacles, ensuring that the space can be enjoyed by all.

The Abrio Place Seniors’ Lodge meets the critical housing needs of low-income seniors in rural Rocky View County. However, our dream is for our residents to not only be safely housed in their community, but to also grow, connect, and thrive. Our objective is to develop a free, accessible, intergenerational Leisure Park that:
1. Creates healthy living experiences,
2. Allows residents to safely connect with each other and their community, and
3. Encourages the active living of residents, and individuals of all ages from the community, who come together for connection, meaning, and purpose.

Who Will it Benefit?

The facility and surrounding lands will be accessed first and foremost by residents and their guests - families and friends. In addition, RVF is in discussion with community services, HomeCare, and program providers to develop on-site programs for residents of Abrio Place, interested Airdrie non-resident seniors, caregivers, and volunteers.

The Abrio Place Leisure Park will benefit locals and residents in the following ways:

1. Improve Quality of Life*
While 93% of Airdrie residents rate their quality of life as good or very good, 23% of them report that parks and green spaces contribute to their quality of life. 8% of residents report that good parks, green spaces, and walking paths were reported to be a reason for the increase in quality of life, paralleling the number of residents (8%) that identify their sense of community as a key factor. In fact, 23% of residents said that they moved to Airdrie to be close to family and friends, a notable increase from 19% in 2020. The Abrio Place Leisure Park will support locals’ quality of life by providing them a safe, accessible, and intergenerational green space.

2. Support Health and Wellness in Seniors
Maintaining adequate levels of physical activity is known to reduce the risk of health problems in older adults.** According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Global Network for Age-friendly Cities and Communities Network, creating age-friendly communities can go a long way in creating environments that both promote health and build and maintain physical and mental capacity across the life-course, ensuring that even if seniors experience capacity loss they can continue to do the things they value.

3. Provide Access to Outdoor Exercise Equipment
A 2014 study reported positive perceptions and participation of people aged 50+ years using outdoor gym equipment, and outdoor exercise equipment, has been shown to improve mood and self-esteem in older people.*** Consequently, exercising outdoors may increase enjoyment and provide social connectedness, and the use of the seniors’ exercise park and can lead to positive behaviour changes and sustained physical activity participation.

*City of Airdrie. 2021 Citizen Satisfaction Report.
** Health Benefits of Physical Activity: The Evidence. Can Med Association.
*** Design and Promotion of an Outdoor Gym for Older Adults: A Collaborative Project. Health Promotion Journal.