The positive benefits for older people who engage in sport and outdoor recreation are also well documented.
How will your club benefit from the inclusion of more senior members?
- Increased members mean revenue growth; tapping into a largely under-serviced and growing market makes a lot of sense.
- Older people can make great role models and mentors for younger members.
- Seniors often bring a complete skill set with them earned during a long career. They can advise and contribute in many operational areas.
- Upon retirement, many people often look for volunteer positions to keep them socially, intellectually and physically active and may therefore be willing to take on a more formal role in your club.
- Retirees are often very reliable and dedicated.
What should you take into account when developing and marketing a sport program for older people?
- Think about how your sport can be modified for older participants and those with mobility issues.
- Consider providing social activities in addition to participation and competition opportunities.
- Find out which days and times are best for older people. They may be happy to participate in a program run on a weekday; a time when many sports clubs are under-utilised.
- Make participation fees affordable.
- Promote realistic role models in recruitment drives.
- Educate coaches and club leaders about the varying needs of older people, or train older people themselves.
- Organise activities at venues accessible by public transport.
- Investigate the competitive options for your older members (e.g. Masters Games).
- Make sure you consider the safety and security of program participants, particularly as they relate to an older age group.
- Ensure your club policies are up-to-date and cater for older participants and members. Play by the Rules has developed a Club Toolkit, which includes important templates like a Member Protection Policy and Disability Inclusion Policy which you can use as a starting point.
Older Smarter Fitter, a guide for providers of sport and physical activity programs for older Australians.
Play by the Rules offers free online training, information and resources for clubs and sporting organisations to ensure everyone involved in sport can do so in enjoyable, safe environments, free from discrimination or harassment.
∗ Australian Social Trends 4102.0 2009, Future Population Growth and Ageing, Australian Bureau of Statistics, Pace of Ageing.