The InterActive for Life & International Council on Active Aging Partnership Project: A
Function2Flow Inquiry into Joyful Programs & Experiences of Active Aging Education
Context and relevance: The InterActive for Life (IA4L) researchers and International Council on Active Aging (ICAA) wish to team up in a partnership project to generate new knowledge for enhancing Active Aging Education. The global growth of an aging population is rising and unless we can change the way we actively age, there will be severe consequences. As an alternative to the perpetuation of fear of chronic disease and morbidity as the primary motivators for improving physical activity rates, this project draws attention to the sensations of ‘life’ that are experienced in joyful moments of relational connection within the embodied actions and interactions of physical activity participation. The focus on becoming IA4L in the later years expands previous SSHRC-funded ‘Function2Flow’ research developed by this research team aimed at discerning motile meanings inherent in the process of becoming physically educated. Together with the ICAA, a leading presence in the active-aging industry with 10,000 organizational members that own or operate 40,000 wellness locations in 57 countries, we wish to engage in information sharing and resource generation for Active Aging professionals.
Methods: The multiphase design of this three-year project is premised on learning from award-winning senior living communities known for their holistic promotion of wellness and translating our findings into practical resources. Each community will be invited to complete an environmental scan with the ‘ICAA Wellness Audit Tool’ to identify areas of strength in their physical activity programming. Then, over the course of one week, their most successful physical activity programs will be observed. Focus group discussions will be offered to all participants in the observed activity, including the activity leader, followed by semi-structured, individual interviews with those who show interest in in-depth sharing.
Observational and interview data of the interactive engagement will be analyzed and mobilized into thematic guidelines that are conceptually framed by the Function2Flow model. Interview participants will be invited to provide further insight on resultant guidelines and contribute practical ideas for the co-creation of Active Aging Resources. This innovative approach to mobilizing research results has been employed in two successful SSHRC-funded studies as featured on http://function2flow.ca/.
Knowledge Mobilization: The IA4L researchers and ICAA will engage in academic and professionally-oriented knowledge mobilization under the advisory committee guidance of representatives from senior living communities and organizations with ‘Active for Life’ aims, namely Physical & Health Education (PHE) Canada and the International Physical Literacy
Association (IPLA). The ICAA will mobilize our findings for professionals affiliated with the Aging population via their annual conference, certification courses, webinars, journal and social media. With the intention of inspiring relational reform in the conceptual underpinning of the ‘Active for Life’ aims of physical education where individual, mechanistic representations of the body are pervasive, knowledge mobilization activities will involve collaboration with PHE Canada and the IPLA. Longer term goals include the formation of partnerships with Ministries of Education across Canada with the aim of sharing knowledge between generations in relation to the shared goal of inspiring more Canadians to be Active and InterActive across the human lifespan.