About the Women 55-70+ Program
Physical Activity and Sport for Women 55 to 70+ is an initiative focused on:
- Increasing sport and physical activity opportunities for ‘younger senior’ women
- Building capacity among stakeholders to better engage and retain women 55-70+ in their programs as leaders and participants
- Empowering women 55-70+ to be leaders and mentors for their peers and their families
- Increasing physical literacy through adapted fundamental movement skills
The 55-70+ age group is one of the fastest growing populations in Canada and will be increasing substantially over the next 20 years. These women, although over age 55, do not consider themselves ‘seniors’ or ‘older adults’ as they feel they are far too young for that. These women are looking to continue what they did or do (e.g. basketball or hockey) but they do not want to play with the younger women- they want something for them.
With this population growing steadily it is important that women 55-70+, the new ‘young seniors’, are able to participate in a host of activities designed to meet their needs. By understanding the needs of women 55-70+, stakeholders (recreation, urban planners, public health, private industry, etc.) will better serve this diverse group at a time that it is so important for them to be active.
Here is a brief history on the evolution of the program:
- Early in 2000 CAAWS identified older women as a gap that was not being addressed.
- In 2005 the Public Health Agency of Canada provided 4 year funding to CAAWS for the Physical Activity for Women 55-70+ project.
- In 2006, 38 focus groups were held in 10 communities across the country involving active women 55-70+, less active women 55-70+ and community stakeholders.
- In 2007/2008, using the focus group results, CAAWS developed a tool kit of resources and trained a group of 40 women 55-70+ as Master Trainers. These trained women helped deliver over 40 workshops in every province and territory in Canada.
- In 2009, the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport (now the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care) provided project funding through the Sport for More Program to train an additional 20 women as Master Trainers who delivered 20 more workshops and supported 20 pilot projects. View the Sport for More Program Projects
- In 2010, the Ontario Trillium Foundation provided 3-year funding to further the work in this area across Ontario. Through this project 20 regional workshops took place across Ontario and 35 pilot projects were conducted. The idea was for women 55-70+ to not only participate but lead these activities for themselves, their peers and their communities… as many have said… “we’re just getting started!” Read more information on the Trillium Foundation pilot projects.
- In 2012 CAAWS then received funding for a two year project from the Ontario Government through the Healthy Communities Program focused on empowering women 55-70 to become physical activity advocates for themselves, their peers and their communities. A series of workshops were held specifically designed for women with Advisory Committees developed in each community to create pilot projects with women 55-70+ and community stakeholders working together. Read more information on what was developed with the Healthy Communities Program.
- In 2014, CAAWS received 2-year funding from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund, CAAWS, the Coaching Association of Canada (CAC), and the Coaching Association of Ontario (CAO) developed a new project focused on increasing physical literacy for women 55-70+ through fundamental movement skills (FMS).
- In 2015, CAAWS and CAO Masters Trainers and FMS Experts were trained and delivered 11 workshops across the province. From these workshops, 12 pilot projects took place.
- Thanks to funding from the Ontario Sport and Recreation Communities Fund for a second phase (2016-2018) of the women 55-70+ physical literacy project, the project is currently focused on adapting FMS to popular activities for women 55-70+ and testing the new tools with stakeholders through 10 workshops across the province.