MSK, in collaboration with Fitness Australia and Monash University, is coordinating the Victorian Active Ageing Partnership (VAAP) on behalf of the Victorian Government.

Discover the benefitsGet involvedSubscribe to eNewsBest practice frameworkVAAP self-assessment tool and resourcesEngaging under-represented groups in physical activity  | Research and Practice Forums  |  Meet the VAAP teamMeet the advisory groupVAAP audit and gap analysisTransition pathways  | Contact the VAAP Team

The VAAP is a three year project that began in October 2015. It aims to increase opportunities for participation in physical activity for older Victorians, especially in areas of socio-economic disadvantage and among isolated, lonely older people not currently involved in physical activity. Find out more about the Victorian Active Ageing Partnership and how you can become involved.

Discover the benefits for your organisation

Becoming involved in the VAAP has many benefits including:

  • access to an evidence-based best practice framework to engage older people in physical activity
  • increasing awareness of current initiatives and activities as well as relevant resources and strategies
  • developing and improving knowledge of assisted/referral pathways to support the involvement of older people in physical activity, especially those not currently participating.

Take action and get involved today

It’s easy for you and your organisation to get involved.

All you need to do is:

  • subscribe to VAAP eNews and stay informed of key VAAP initiatives and the latest research and developments relating to physical activity and older people. Subscribe here.
  • write about it in your organisation’s newsletter, share on your social media platforms, encourage people to sign up to VAAP eNews
  • Contribute to VAAP eNews. Click here for eNews guidelines.
  • Attend the annual VAAP Research and Practice Forum. To view the presentations from this year’s Forum, click here

Subscribe to VAAP eNews

Subscribe to our eNewsletter and:

  • stay up-to-date with the activities and progress of the VAAP
  • be informed of news and updates from the broader field of physical activity for older people
  • read about good practice examples
  • be linked to other organisations, groups and clubs that provide physical activity opportunities for older Victorians.

Read past editions:

To subscribe, click here.

VAAP evidence-based best practice framework

To understand the characteristics and features of organisations and the workforce that are enablers and barriers to older people engaging in physical activity, an evidence synthesis was conducted. It is providing the basis for the development of an evidence-based best practice framework for community-based organisations to guide the engagement of older people in group-based physical activity. Assoc Prof Ben Smith, Project Advisor representing Monash University on the VAAP Coordination Team, has led this initiative.

In order to further refine the draft framework, a structured validation process was undertaken with organisations and group leaders in Victoria.

To find out more read the:

VAAP self-assessment tool and resources

The development of a VAAP self-assessment tool and resources (SaTR) follows on from the formulation of the evidence-based best practice framework for engaging older people in physical activity.

The SaTR has been designed to assist you review and reflect on your current programs and activities, to think about what you are currently doing and if it might need to be improved. The SaTR takes a continuous quality improvement approach and is intended as a ‘value-adding’ tool.

You can also use the SaTR as a guide if you are establishing physical activity programs for older people for the first time, or establishing new programs. The SaTR also offers ideas and resources to assist in further improving your physical activity services for older people.

Different versions of the SaTR have been created for use by fitness/leisure centres, local councils, community health centres, state sporting associations, U3As and neighbourhood houses/community centres. A version has also been specifically designed for use by YMCA fitness/leisure centres.

To find more about the SaTR and how it works, it is important that you view this short video. Duration: 6:39

Become a registered user of the VAAP SaTR

As a way of tracking the use of the SaTR, we are asking services and organisations to become ‘registered users’ of the SaTR. This involves the following:

  1. Providing the following details to the VAAP Coordination Team:
    • Organisational name
    • Names and contact details for two contact people
    • Type of organisation (e.g. community health service)
    • Local government area (LGA)
  2. Having just your organisational name, type of organisation and LGA listed on the VAAP webpage in the list of registered users (no names of contact people will be listed)
  3. Letting the VAAP Coordination Team know if you experience any technical glitches with the SaTR
  4. Letting the VAAP Coordination Team know of any feedback about using the tool and occasionally responding to requests for feedback.

Click here to see the list of organisations that have already become registered users of the SaTR.

Become a registered user of the SaTR now by sending the required details to the VAAP Coordination Team via email. When a service or organisation becomes a registered user of the SaTR, the contact people will be sent the tool.

If you have any queries about the SaTR, please contact the VAAP Coordination Team.

Engaging under-represented groups of older adults in physical activity

A qualitative study was undertaken within the VAAP to gather evidence to improve the design of physical activity programs, and the capacity of activity providers, to increase participation by under-represented and vulnerable older people. Within this group of older people are those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged, living with a disability, culturally and linguistically diverse, or living alone. These groups were identified as being at elevated risk of isolation and loneliness in the Commissioner for Senior Victorians’ 2016 report, Ageing is Everyone’s Business. The Commissioner’s report highlighted the effects of social networks, physical functioning and mobility upon isolation. Community-based physical activity programs have a valuable role to play in addressing these factors.

The qualitative study resulted in the identification of many useful strategies for service providers to employ in better engaging under-represented groups of older adults in physical activity.

Find out more about the study and the identified strategies.

Professional development resource

A series of short films, which outlines various strategies to engage under-represented groups of older adults in physical activity, has been developed. These films are designed as a professional development resource for staff and volunteers working with older people. In line with the areas covered within the corresponding VAAP study, the three films focus on:

Click on the above links to view each of the films now.

Gain a professional development point with Physical Activity Australia (PAA)!

One professional development point (PDP) is available to members of PAA for completion of various tasks related to the engagement of under-represented groups of older adults in physical activity. The course is suitable for qualified fitness professionals such as personal trainers, gym instructors and group exercise instructors. This course would be beneficial for fitness professionals at all levels of knowledge and experience (i.e. beginners, intermediate or advanced).

This professional development opportunity is provided free of charge to qualified fitness professionals in Victoria. If you wish to undertake the course but are located in another state, please email the VAAP Coordination Team.

To read an overview of the PD activity, click here.

To undertake the PD activity, click here.

Accreditation is also being sought from Fitness Australia for a similar, but slightly different, PD activity.

Meet the members of the VAAP Coordination Team

Genevieve Nolan
Manager, Victorian Active Ageing Partnership

Gen has worked at Musculoskeletal Australia since September 2011 in the role of Programs Manager, Consumers Services. Gen has principal responsibility for the coordination of MSK’s suite of training and education programs. Prior to MSK, Gen worked in various roles within the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services. With her extensive experience in project and program management, Gen will have overall responsibility for the successful implementation and completion of the VAAP project.

Helen Koutsimanis
Project Officer, Victorian Active Ageing Partnership

Helen has worked at MSK since 2015 in the role of Project Officer – Health Promotion. Over this time, Helen has worked on various initiatives within the Victorian Active Ageing Partnership (VAAP), including the audit of physical activity opportunities for older adults and the analysis of data collected for other VAAP key projects. Helen will work closely with Gen in coordinating the VAAP and will play a major role in implementing many of the key strategies outlined in the project plan.

Assoc Prof Ben Smith
Project Advisor representing Monash University, Victorian Active Ageing Partnership

Ben is a Senior Lecturer, Health Science in the School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University. Ben has 20 years’ experience in physical activity research, evidence synthesis, program evaluation and training. Examples of his contributions to this field include being a member of the expert drafting panel for National Heart Foundation’s 2014 update of the ‘Blue Print for an Active Australia’, as a trainer for Monash University’s five-day Health Promotion Short Course 2008-2014 and as a previous Director of the NSW Centre for Physical Activity and Health, University of Sydney. Within the VAAP project, Ben will lead the development of the project’s monitoring and evaluation plan, undertake evidence syntheses, as well as a qualitative study regarding older people who are ‘hard to reach’ in relation to engagement in physical activity.

Chris Alexander
Manager of Standard & Development at Fitness Australia, the Health and Fitness Industry Association

Chris Alexander is the Manager of Standard & Development at Fitness Australia, the Health and Fitness Industry Association. He has over 15 years’ experience in the health and fitness industry. Chris worked across a number of health promotion projects including Lift for Life, strength training program and Get Healthy Information & Coaching Service. He’s worked at medical clinics and provided fitness education for many years delivering and managing a registered training organisation. Chris is also practicing Accredited Exercise Physiologist.

Meet the VAAP Project Advisory Group

The VAAP Project Advisory Group (PAG) provides experience and sector-based knowledge and advice to assist with promoting, implementing, monitoring and evaluating the VAAP.

For the Project Advisory Group’s Terms of Reference please click here.

The members of the PAG are as follows:

  • Jan Bruce, Positive Ageing Policy Adviser, Municipal Association of Victoria
  • Jonathan Pietsch, Special Projects – LLLS and Social Enterprises, COTA Victoria
  • Laura Cattapan, Coordinator Access & Inclusion, City of Port Phillip
  • Tom Dixon, Participation Strategy Manager, Vicsport
  • Gabrielle Lindsay Smith, PhD Student, Institute for Health and Sport, Victoria University
  • Chris Lacey, Victorian State Manager, Reclink Australia
  • Elsie Mutton, Course Administrator and Vice-President of U3A Nunawading
  • Rayoni Nelson, Manager, Physical Activity, Sport & Healthy Eating, VicHealth
  • Gerald Dixon, Centre Manager, YMCA Victoria
  • Megan Clifford, Senior Project Officer – Active and Healthy Ageing, Department of Health and Human Services

The members of the VAAP Coordination Team are ex officio members of the VAAP PAG.

Physical activity for older Victorians: VAAP audit and gap analysis

An audit was undertaken by the VAAP Coordination Team in 2015-2016 to examine the availability, variety and accessibility of physical activity opportunities for older Victorians.

The aims of the data audit and gap analysis were:

  • To gain information in relation to the availability, variety and accessibility of physical activity opportunities for older Victorians
  • To identify the gaps in the availability, variety and accessibility of physical activity opportunities for older Victorians
  • To provide baseline information to guide the future work of the VAAP
  • To provide information that may be used to guide work by external organisations. The audit examined structured physical activity programs incorporating fitness, strength, balance and flexibility within each Victorian local government area.

To find out more read the:

Transition pathways – Key elements to maximise the sustainability of exercise

After a health event, which may affect their physical mobility and functioning, older people often undertake a structured and supported rehabilitation program to rebuild their mobility, physical functioning and self-confidence. At the end of these programs, it is important that they transition well to another community-based setting to continue their exercise and physical activity. Well functioning transition pathways will assist in maximising the older person’s continuation and sustained engagement in exercise.

A qualitative study was undertaken within the VAAP examining existing pathways governing the transition of older people from a formal, supervised program to independent, community-based exercise. The aim of the study was to determine the features and factors of these pathways, which act as enablers and barriers to the achievement of their desired outcomes.

Read the key elements of transition pathways, which have been identified as maximising the sustainability of exercise.

Contact the VAAP Coordination Team

To get in touch with the VAAP Coordination Team, please contact:

Helen Koutsimanis
03 8531 8045 | 1800 263 265

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