23 Sep 2018 | Digital editions, magazines, websites, e-zines, handbooks and contract publishing for the leisure industry

Health Club Management issue 9, 2018 is now out!


Health Club Management bloggers:

Liz Terry
Leisure Media

Kate Cracknell
Health Club Management

Ian Taylor

Gareth Edwards
Director of Education,

John Goodbody
Sports Journalist

Peter Ducker
Chief executive,
Institute of Hospitality

Suki Kalirai
Interim CEO,

Sam Coulstock
Customer Relationship Director,

Leah De Silva
Business development director,

Peter Moody
Brook Street des Roches LLP

David Stalker

Charles Wilford
Co-Head, Leisure Team,
Gerald Eve

Designing for dementia

11 Sep 2015
by Kate Cracknell, editor-at-large, Health Club Management
The big message is that we’re at the point of no return. We have to act today, because tomorrow’s challenge is already upon us

We know society is ageing. We know exercise offers the potential of a healthier – as well as a longer – life. The problem is, by classifying anyone over the age of 50 as 'old', the fitness industry is missing a trick.

Because the decades after 50 can constitute half of a person’s life, and encompass everything from full mental and physical fitness through to muscle loss and dementia. So where are the clubs that cater for the truly old and frail? The answer: they’re few and far between, and even where they do exist, the focus is often on the physical – mainly falls prevention – and the social, offering companionship and community.

But what about the direct mental impact of exercise? One topic that’s getting a lot of attention among the scientific community is dementia, and the positive impact exercise can have on this devastating condition – we review some of the latest research on Health Club Management 2015 issue 9 page 124.

But as yet, few fitness facilities have focused on this wonderful benefit of exercise. Step forward UK-based community interest company LiveWire, which has just had plans approved for a £16m neighbourhood leisure, culture, health and wellbeing hub in Warrington. Set to open in Q3 2016, it will be LiveWire’s first dementia-friendly facility.

Locklynne Hall, LiveWire’s innovation and leadership manager, explains what that means: “The person with dementia has difficulty remembering things, so you can’t rely on them building up a familiarity with where things are – you need appropriate signage. Their more recent memories are lost first, so if your toilet signs are a variation on the stick man that became common in the 60s, it might be meaningless to someone whose memory stops before then.

“You need appropriate fittings too, because the person with dementia also has difficulty working things out. They may not understand how to use clinical-style taps and mixer faucets in toilets. Unfamiliar plumbing will cause delays and confusion that could lead to incontinence and distress.

“You also need a well thought-out colour and décor scheme. If someone has developed problems with depth perception and visual processing, a pattern on the floor may appear to be a trip hazard: this momentary confusion can cause them to stumble and fall.”

Equally importantly, LiveWire trains its staff – and members of the local community – to understand the condition. It’s piloting a number of programmes too: early onset dementia groups, for example, offering healthy walking classes and tai chi. “We’re also developing a ‘lessen your chances’ programme of activities,” adds Hall.

There are lessons to learn from other sectors too, with evidence to suggest that environments which stimulate longer-term memories can be beneficial. For example, the Jamtli museum in Sweden has created the environment of a 1970s house, designed to jog dementia sufferers’ memories
of happy, younger years. Engagement levels are reportedly high, and the individuals are also calmer and more content in this familiar environment.

As the population gets older, the need to be dementia-friendly will be inescapable. “The big message,” concludes Hall, “is that we’re at the point of no return. We have to act today, because tomorrow’s challenge is already upon us.”

Tags: Health Club Management  executive  health & fitness 

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