Recently, I received a letter from one of Billings’ local gyms. It informed me they, along with several other gyms in our community, were no longer participating in the Silver & Fit or Silver Sneakers programs. These programs essentially allow older adults to have access to multiple gyms in our community at little or no cost.
Silver & Fit allows older people affordable access to gyms. Ideally, it keeps people healthier and happier longer. This is a win-win-win for the member, insurance company and community. The benefits of staying healthy and avoiding doctor and hospital visits is obvious. Unfortunately, local gyms do not share the idea of our older adults leading a longer healthier life if it isn’t profitable.
So why are they dropping programs benefiting our older and more at risk population? Older adults cannot always afford expensive monthly memberships. I realize that the gyms need to make a profit to stay in business, but marginalizing older adults who may be battling health and money issues isn’t admirable. These programs may not provide as much benefit to gyms, but they provide our community with larger benefits. It keeps people we love and care about around longer. Many older adults I see regularly attending gyms will lose these benefits this year. Instead of being Silver and Fit, they are told to be Silver and Get! Our gyms can do better. The risk-benefit margin for a better longer life shouldn’t depend on a gyms ability to make more money.