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Gerontologist. 2009 Oct;49(5):702-10. doi: 10.1093/geront/gnp072. Epub 2009 Jul 2.

Recruiting older adults into a physical activity promotion program: Active Living Every Day offered in a naturally occurring retirement community.

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  • 1Program in Occupational Therapy, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63108, USA.



This article explores recruitment strategies based on the transtheoretical model (TTM) with older adults living in a naturally occurring retirement community (NORC) to encourage enrollment in a physical activity promotion program, Active Living Every Day (ALED). Reasons for participation or nonparticipation are identified.


Recruitment strategies were designed to move older adults through the TTM stages of change to enroll in ALED and were built on meetings and resources established by St. Louis NORC's supportive service program. NORC residents (25 ALED participants and 25 nonparticipants) were interviewed about reasons for enrollment or nonenrollment.


A significant difference was found between the two groups on their responses to a physical activity stage-of-change question, although no significant differences were found in their demographics, social resources, and mood/depression. ALED participants' motivation to enroll primarily came from TTM proactive recruitment methods (88%) and less (12%) from reactive methods. Themes for ALED participants' choices to enroll included motivation to exercise, physical activity ideas from peers, social engagement, and trust in sponsoring organizations' staff and programs. Analysis of interview data identified that scheduling and cost were primary reasons for nonenrollment in ALED.


Using theoretically based recruitment methods for older adults and a neighborhood approach through organizations such as a NORC may result in greater numbers of older adults participating in health promotion programs.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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