How to Design a Functional Park for Seniors

two seniors working out on outdoor fitness equipment in a park

Seven Tips for Planning a Senior Park

Senior park, senior fitness site or senior citizen playgrounds? We prefer the term senior park as it encompasses all the activities surrounding a functional park for older people. Several aspects exist when designing a senior park because it is not just about fitness and staying fit through exercising. A senior park has to offer multi-purpose activities such as social activities and recreational purposes.

Here are seven tips to consider when building and planning a park for senior citizens:

  1. User-involvement

  2. Community Feel

  3. Accessibility

  4. Type of Equipment

  5. Safety First

  6. Consult the professionals

  7. Budget

Planning a senior park involves all of these aspects and each one must be carefully considered to ensure you plan a senior park that will be used. The best way to achieve this is to involve the seniors in your community in the planning phase and this will result in a park that will be community orientated and successful.

Contact your local fitness expert

Tip 1


Seniors are a diverse group of people with different needs and age-related issues. Some elderly people may want to be part of a community with peers, others need to stay fit or use equipment for rehabilitation purposes, and some seniors prefer a bench in the shade to watch everyday life and enjoy the view. Make sure to engage your community and residents in the area before the design process to ensure their wants and needs are met.

seniors working out in an outdoor gym
Seniors working out on a senior playground

Tip 2: Community Feel

Motivating seniors to leave their houses and experience the outdoors in the fresh air has many benefits. The overall idea of designing a park for older adults is to cater for their wellbeing, encourage a sense of community and encourage socialiasing together while benefiting from increased movement and exercise in the outdoors. The benefits of a shared community and a sense of belonging can prevent loneliness and isolation.

senior citizens using outdoor gym equipment for elderly hero image

Tip 3: Accessibility

Remember that seniors with mobility challenges often arrive with walkers, a walking cane or even a wheelchair, which is why even ground surfaces and wide routes or ramps to and from the parking area are essential. Ramps should be with a reasonable gradient. Easy access to your senior park is vital, and for extra comfort, make sure to have benches placed along the way, allowing for a rest when needed. Also, bear in mind that older people may bring their families to the park and designing your space to include activities for multiple generations enables quality time for the entire family. Site amenities like tables and benches will increase the duration of the time spent in your park as visitors can bring and enjoy a picnic.

Tip 4

Type of Equipment

At KOMPAN, we have designed a range of equipment targeting seniors based on facilitating the training of fundamental skills like walking on uneven surfaces or navigating steps and stairs. Often, a downward spiral begins through inactivity or even due to the most minor physical mishaps. Trips and falls are among the most frequent triggers for injuries. It is universally accepted that three-quarters of fatal and non-fatal accidents involving older people are caused by slipping or stumbling. Prevention is better than cure, but the equipment is also a valuable means of rehabilitation in case of a mishap.

man using outdoor fitness equipment for seniors to improve balance

Tip 5: Safety

The equipment must be carefully considered, easy to use, have clear instructions, and, most of all, be safe. High-quality equipment is imperative to avoid any injuries. Keeping the area tidy and clean can also make the park safe and prevent fall injuries. Good lighting in the park will also make the area feel safer and more welcoming, especially for those with conditions that affect their eyesight. Shaded areas are a must. It is important for elderly people to stay cool and out of the sun to prevent dehydration, especially during warmer weather. Toilets and drinking water close to the chosen location will also increase the number of people visiting the park.

consultation about a outdoor functional fitness park for seniors

Tip 6: Consult the Professionals

We always recommend consulting with healthcare professionals familiar with working with older adults, such as fitness instructors, nurses, physiotherapists or physicians as they can help choose the right equipment for the seniors in your community.

Our team of fitness experts also have vast experience with building and designing functional senior parks, and they are here to ensure that you get the most out of your project when it comes to designing and working with your budget.

people working out on outdoor fitness equipment

Tip 7: Budget

Budget is always a significant factor when considering a senior park plan. To ensure you get the most out of your budget, we recommend consulting with our teams of experts, as they know how you keep your project within your budget.

While the equipment takes up around half of your budget, the rest is allocated to services related to surfacing and landscaping, installation costs and shipping. At KOMPAN all our equipment is certified to local regulations and certs are available for all our equipment.

The Health Benefits of Senior Parks

There are many health benefits of senior parks. Increased age means physiological changes and decreased physical performance. Still, much of this is attributed to decreased physical activity levels and can be prevented or reduced by regular exercise. Not only does exercise build muscle strength, it also prevents age-related problems such as reduced cardiometabolic health, which increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Social and emotional factors of outdoor exercise in a senior park also play a big part in motivating older adults and increasing their quality of life.

Check out our fitness planning page to learn more about how to build an outdoor gym.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should seniors lift heavy or light weights?

Lifting weights is a great way to build muscle strength, but when you're over 50, there is no reason to push yourself too hard. Try a slightly lighter weight with which you can safely do 10 to 12 reps.

What type of training is best for seniors

The best exercise for preventing most lifestyle diseases combines cardio training, strength training and increased physical activity levels. Weight-bearing exercise, in particular, helps to keep bones healthy and strong. Heart and lungs – moderate intensity exercise is most favourable: for example, exercising at about 70% of the individual's maximum heart rate (220 beats per minute minus your age).

What type of equipment is best for senior parks?

We recommend exercise equipment for seniors from our Stay Fit range. The Up & Go may seem simplistic in its design, with a seat, a guide rail and a post to walk around, yet it mimics some of the most important movements. You can gauge your fitness level by timing how many you can do. Similarly, the Stairs and rampDouble Stairs, and Balance Board help simulate the most common activities encountered during a typical day out and about.

Got questions about how to plan a functional senior park?

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