November 19-21, 2024


Enrich your career with shared learning, inspiration, and exploration of new innovations and best practices in wellness.


7:30 a.m.–8:30 a.m.

Use technology and data to provide holistic wellness programmingCristina de Santis & Liz Sauve

Achieving holistic wellness requires attention to the entire range of human needs, from emotional to spiritual. Glean insights on how to improve resident wellness, engagement and length of stay from data the presenters have accumulated from engagements with thousands of senior living residents. Also learn how to use your own recreation data to better engage residents through programming that satisfies all seven dimensions of wellness.

You’ll be able to:

  • Implement insights from aggregated data to improve resident wellness and engagement, and therefore length of stay.
  • Collect organized recreation data to understand how each activity engages residents across each dimension of wellness.
  • Analyze collected data using statistical methods to improve resident engagement and satisfaction.

Faculty: Cristina de Santis, BCom, Vice President of Performance Improvement and Innovation, Responsive Group, Inc.; and Liz Sauve, BA, Director of Marketing, Welbi.

Incentive programs beyond Bingo BucksEmily Fannin, Sarah Robertson & Amy Simmons

Have you ever struggled with getting a new program going or building traction once it is established? Learn how to create unique challenges for residents that will boost attendance for sustained engagement and get “out of the box” ideas to increase engagement and participation for employees and residents. Dive into the benefits of incentive programs, participate in an interactive example and learn how to implement creative programming in your community.

You’ll be able to:

  • Review the benefits of creative approaches to incentive programs, including the impact on resident engagement and a vibrant community culture.
  • Participate in interactive incentive program examples and receive ready-to-implement templates for use in your community.
  • Engage in an interactive workshop challenge and work in groups to generate creative incentive program ideas.

Faculty: Emily Fannin, BS, ACSM Certified Exercise Physiologist, National Director of Training and Customer Support; Sarah Robertson, BA, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, National Director of Training and Customer Support, Wellness Services; and Amy Simmons, BS, National Program Director for EnerG by Aegis, Aegis Therapies.

Load up to live strongLibby Norris, Janice Hutton & Michelle Kerr

Research is demonstrating the value of high-intensity training (HIIT) to optimize health and quality of life at all ability levels. Learn how to create a pathway to HIIT using progressive overload targeting muscular power, strength, endurance, reaction and balance systems. Explore ways to apply music and rhythm variations to create overload through isometric, concentric and eccentric loading. Create dynamic challenge while accommodating for physical differences and personal preferences.

You’ll be able to:

  • Design group exercise formats to support optimal health, reduce falls and enhance ability to perform activities of daily living.
  • Create results using rhythmic formulas and exercise combinations that can be adapted to a variety of small equipment and body weight exercises.
  • Optimize the benefits of group exercise while providing options to customize for individuals who have varying levels of strength, mobility and ability.

Faculty: Libby Norris, BA, canfitpro Fitness Instructor/Personal Training Specialist, Founder; Janice Hutton, MA, ACE Personal Trainer, Cofounder; and Michelle Kerr, canfitpro Fitness Instructor Specialist, Cofounder, Your Fitness Sisters.

Building the business case for “going all in” with wellnessColin Milner

Gain the knowledge and tools you need to make a compelling case for investing in wellness programs for your organization. Explore the value of wellness to your organization and how to frame it for a leadership lens. Learn about the key performance indicators your organization needs to assess your return on investment, including how to track and measure those KPIs. Also, delve into benefits wellness programs can bring your residents/clients and how to communicate those benefits to stakeholders and build an “all in” business case.

You’ll be able to:

  • State the value of wellness, explaining its importance and its potential to positively impact your organization (e.g., improved employee morale, reduced healthcare costs, increased productivity).
  • Identify KPIs needed to assess your wellness ROI (e.g., employee participation rates, health outcomes and financial savings), plus discover how to track and measure them effectively.
  • Communicate the value of wellness to your residents/clients (e.g., improved quality of life, increased social engagement and better health outcomes) and to stakeholders, plus build a strong business case for investing in wellness.

Faculty: Colin Milner, Founder and CEO, International Council on Active Aging.

Eccentric training: Turning negatives into positivesNate Cuddihy-Garner

Learn about current research and trends in utilizing eccentric—negative—exercises in fitness and rehabilitation settings for older adults. Discover the benefits of incorporating eccentric exercises, particularly for increasing strength, balance, gait, range of motion and functional mobility. Discuss the positive impact of eccentric exercise for people with specific conditions, such as joint replacements, diabetes, strokes and Parkinson’s. Learn how exercisers can safely use bands, body weight and free weights to maximize exercise outcomes and support everyday functionality.

You’ll be able to:

  • Explain the how and why of performing eccentric exercises.
  • Identify candidates who could safely incorporate eccentric exercises into their exercise programs.
  • Introduce eccentric exercises safely into group fitness and personal training sessions for older adults.

Faculty: Nate Cuddihy-Garner, MS, LMT, NASM-CES, Wellness Coordinator, Covenant Living of Colorado.

8:45 a.m.–9:45 a.m.

Exploring discrimination of LGBT+ residents within senior livingHaley Kinne-Norris

Learn what types of discrimination may be affecting LGBT+ individuals in your communities while exploring information from many research articles, including a study administered by the presenter. Learn how to implement new ideas that will foster more inclusive programming and ensure all feel welcomed in your community.

You’ll be able to:

  • Define inclusivity in senior living communities.
  • Ensure programming opportunities are inclusive.
  • Recognize that additional staff training may be required to recognize and meet needs of LGBT+ residents.

Faculty: Haley Kinne-Norris, MS, Regional Wellness/Enrichment Coordinator, Liberty Senior Living.

Compassionate Touch: A nonpharmacological approach to build relationships in dementia careLaura Ellen Christian

Compassionate Touch® is an evidence-informed approach that helps prevent behavioral expressions in people with dementia while also reducing job stress in care partners. Learn two Compassionate Touch techniques; discuss the clinical impact of skilled touch on behavior, pain and anxiety; and hear how the approach is being integrated into existing memory care programs. The experiential focus of the session will allow you to leave with a skill you can apply immediately.

You’ll be able to:

  • Describe how skilled touch enables care partners to connect and communicate in new ways with people with dementia.
  • Competently perform two skilled touch techniques.
  • Explain the clinical impact of skilled touch on behavior, pain and anxiety of people with dementia and how skilled touch reduces care partner stress and improves relationships.

Faculty: Laura Ellen Christian, BSEd, President, AGE-u-cate Training Institute.

Energize your nutritional programming to boost wellnessTaylor Boyd, Stephen Brown & Sarah Robertson

Teach your community’s residents and staff how to make nutritious, healthy, sustainable choices. Learn how to implement nutrition programs that will help them make choices that align with optimal living goals. Discuss incentive programs that can contribute to healthy eating for staff and residents, plus discover how to work with dietary guidelines to provide healthy choices for meals and snacks and during activities.

You’ll be able to:

  • Take away samples with ready-to-use nutritional education activities that make healthy eating fun by utilizing the seven dimensions of wellness.
  • Receive ready-to-implement tools to enhance nutritional programming for residents and employee wellness.
  • Discuss the benefits of nutritional programming in senior living communities and use tools to replicate programming on a budget.

Faculty: Taylor Boyd, BA, Lifestyle & Health Coordinator; Stephen Brown, BA, NCCPT, ACE, National Director of Training and Customer Support-Wellness Services; and Sarah Robertson, BA, NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Senior Fitness Specialist, National Director of Training and Customer Support, Wellness Services, Aegis Therapies.

“So You Think You Can’t Dance?”Cammy Dennis

The current generation of older adults loves low-impact aerobics, but it is a challenge to find instructors who are confident to lead these classes. Learn how to teach simple, dance-style choreography that boosts cardio health while working in posture, gait and balance drills. Focus on building simple, choreographed patterns in conjunction with an understanding of music phrasing and incorporating motor patterns that support posture, gait mechanics and balance.

You’ll be able to:

  • Lead low-impact choreography in a dance-inspired group fitness class.
  • Construct choreography and apply the 32-count combination process of organizing and teaching.
  • Introduce choreography patterns that improve posture, balance and gait mechanics.

Faculty: Cammy Dennis, BS, ACE, AFAA, AEA fitness certifications, NAFC master trainer, Fitness Director, On Top of the World Communities.

Build strength and stay injury free after 50!Malin Svensson

The best way to face the challenges of aging is to be as strong as possible in both body and mind. Jane Fonda’s trainer, Malin Svensson, has worked with the 50-and-over population for more than 30 years. Explore her techniques to help older adults increase body awareness and integrate a positive mindset about aging. Learn how correct movement can decrease discomfort and perform some simple strength-training exercises that are both functional and crucial to active aging with as much quality and independence as possible.

You’ll be able to:

  • Increase an individual’s body awareness so they can distinguish discomfort from muscle fatigue, static stretching and injury pain.
  • Work with older adults to help them move correctly to decrease aches and pains and prevent potential injuries.
  • Empower your older-adult clients to get stronger while staying injury free.

Faculty: Malin Svensson, MA, NASM CPT, Founder and President, Nordic Body, Inc., and Nordic Body Academy.

10:00 a.m.–11:00 a.m.

Employ local resources and resident talents to create interactive, inclusive and successful programmingAliza Orent & Alissa Edwards

Learn how you can use local educational, musical and spiritual resources along with the talents, skills and imagination of your residents to create opportunities for lifelong learning and engagement. Explore examples of two communities that successfully engaged in small, medium and large programs to enhance mind, body and soul. Discuss how collaboration with residents is vital to create successful programming in senior living communities.

You’ll be able to:

  • Obtain useful feedback that can be employed to inform future programming.
  • Develop a system to map outcomes and metrics from focus groups.
  • Create an action plan with fresh ideas to incorporate into your daily, weekly and monthly programming.

Faculty: Aliza Orent, MSW, Zest Director, Maravilla at the Domain; and Alissa Edwards, BA, Regional Director of Zest, Maravilla Scottsdale.

The importance of resident engagement in creating communityJennifer Lecher

Discuss the Community Engagement Model, which illustrates how understanding the wellness needs and influencers in your residents’ lives helps you create and implement meaningful programs that help build relationships across your community. Explore best practices to facilitate engaged and active residents in your community. Learn activity ideas that promote sharing and build trust among participants.

You’ll be able to:

  • Identify and implement specific daily tasks that help residents move up Maslow’s hierarchy to achieve self-actualization.
  • Identify and utilize two best practices to help you gather thorough information about your residents’ preferences as you plan activities.
  • Implement two programs to promote sharing and trust-building among your residents.

Faculty: Jennifer Lecher, BS, CDP, CTRS, West Coast Regional Life Enrichment Mentor, Meridian Senior Living.

Designing dynamic fitness sessionsEmily Johnson

Stuck in a class design rut? Looking for more ways to keep your classes fresh and engaging? Learn rhythmic and timed-based movements set to music that your fitness classes will love while still addressing endurance, power, muscular strength, coordination, balance, range of motion and brain fitness. Receive a dynamic program design system and three new cardio, strength and range-of-motion routines you can use immediately.

You’ll be able to:

  • Implement three cardio, strength and range-of-motion routines into your teaching repertoire.
  • Create countless fresh and engaging routines with an easy-to-use, multistep system.
  • Modify routines to meet the needs of a wide range of abilities in both seated and standing class formats.

Faculty: Emily Johnson, BHK Hons, canfitpro Fitness Instructor Specialist, Founder, StrongerU Senior Fitness, Inc.

Secrets of breath and meditation: Impact on agingJanhavi Wadhwani

Explore the science behind anxiety and its impact on the body and mind. Learn practical tools related to the breath that will enable you to elicit relaxation, calmness and clarity. Leave the session feeling energized and empowered and carrying a lingering sense of joy.

You’ll be able to:

  • Describe the patterns of stress and its connection with the brain.
  • Take home practical breathing exercises to calm anxieties and the ability to access deep meditation.
  • Improve your sense of connection with yourself and your communities.

Faculty: Janhavi Wadhwani, MBA, Director, Self Sense.

11:05 a.m.-11:30 a.m.


It’s not over until it’s over! Here’s your opportunity to tie together all the threads of the ICAA Conference experience in a fun finale. Celebrate learnings, connect with the ICAA community, and prepare to leave with a renewed sense of energy and inspiration for the year ahead. You’ll also gain a sneak peek into next year’s event.