An Evaluation of Perceived or Actual Activity Barriers Among United States National Senior Athletes Versus the General Older Adult Population

By: Ellen Driber-Hassall   John Bishop  

To enhance human services practice for older adults, it remains incumbent upon professionals to acknowledge the presence of and act upon activity barriers encountered along the aging continuum. American older adults (OA) shouldering activity barriers may face serious quality of life issues resulting in minimal health equity opportunity. Compounding this predicament are socio-environment issues which accompany aging and are associated with the current OA 88% inactivity rate. This research investigated what OA activity barriers were present in two segments of that population: national-level senior athletes versus non-athletes who attended health promotion workshops. Given the estimate of 200m OA (65 years of age and older) by the year 2060, spanning three distinct generations, each possessing unique generational profiles, the questions of access, availability, and affordability of human services are exigent. The methodology piloted a cross-sectional data collection approach with national-level senior athletes who anonymously and voluntarily completed a demographic questionnaire and the “Barriers to Being Active Survey”. Results from these athletes were compared to results obtained with the general non-athlete population. The results indicate a distinct difference in the identification of and the reporting of activity barriers in the general older adult population sample as compared to a national-level senior athlete sample. This research corroborates both the need for proactive planning and complete understanding of these barriers’ impacts on society by decision makers and those working with older adults.

Activity barriers, Health equity, Older adults
Social and Cultural Perspectives on Aging
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Dr. Ellen Driber-Hassall

Principal, Co-owner, Aging Matters, LLC, United States
NM, United States

Ellen was born in Trenton, NJ. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in History/Education, two Master’s degrees (Management and Gerontology), and a Doctoral degree in Human Services Administration with a minor in Gerontology. Ellen is a service disabled US Air Force veteran, having served 13 years as an aircraft maintenance officer. She completed a 20 year career as an administrator in higher education. She and her business partner have created and presented numerous seminars on gerontological topics both internationally and nationally. Ellen has published a number of articles on workforce issues and aging topics. As a Principal with Aging Matters, LLC, she is passionate about helping all people actively engage their personal aging processes.

Dr. John Bishop

Aging Matters, LLC, United States
NM, United States

Jack was born in New Brunswick, NJ. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science/Education, three Master’s degrees (HR & Management, Business Administration and Gerontology), and a Ph.D. specializing in Multidisciplinary Human Services and Gerontology. Jack is retired from the U.S. Air Force and is a service disabled veteran. Following retirement, he transitioned to industry and worked in senior management and executive level positions for 11 years. He and his business partner have published articles and developed aging related programs for public and private enterprise, as well as gerontological seminars which have been presented nationally and internationally. As a Principal with Aging Matters, LLC he is passionate about helping all people actively engage their personal aging processes.