Dianne McCaughey & Debi Pillarella

Debi Pillarella _ Dianne McCaughey

About Dianne McCaughey

Dianne McCaughey, Ph.D. with a concentration in gerontology, has over 40 years experience in the fitness and health industry with over 25 years as a fitness educator for various certifying organizations including FAI and co-developed the Functional Aging Group Exercise Specialist certification program. Dr. McCaughey is an international speaker, author, and presenter who has traveled the world touching lives and emphasizing optimal wellness of the mind, body, and spirit at any age. She is the owner of Fitness Specialist, a personal training business in south Florida which focuses on post-rehabilitation, corrective exercise, fall prevention, and brain health.

About Debi Pillarella

Debi Pillarella, M.Ed. - Debi has over 30 years experience in the health, fitness, and wellness industries. She is currently pursuing a doctorate degree in Health Sciences at The University of Indianapolis, researching grip strength, functionality, and quality of life in the older adult population. Debi holds multiple certifications from The American Council on Exercise, as well as through the Functional Aging Institute. Debi is an adjunct faculty member at Purdue University Northwest and an advisory board member, curriculum specialist, and master trainer for the Functional Aging Institute (FAI). She co-developed the Functional Aging Group Exercise Specialist certification program for FAI. Additionally, she has developed the F.L.E.E. (Functional Living Exercise for Everyone) program and F.L.Y. (Functional Living Yoga) programs for medical fitness centers in Northwest Indiana..

Get A Grip: The Importance of a Grip Strength Program for Older Adults

Did you know research has shown that a decline in grip strength is associated with falls, malnutrition, lower quality of life, higher risk of disability, and a reduction in gross and fine motor functional ability? Using this literature to fuel older adult programming, session attendees will not only understand how to assess pre/post program grip strength, but most importantly learn how to integrate a progressive grip strengthening program into your existing older adult functional exercise programs. This session will take you to “Gripfinity and BEYOND!”


1.Attendees will be shown how to conduct and analyze pre/post program grip strength and quality of life assessments for older adults

2. Attendees will recognize how to Identify the associations of grip strength and cognitive function, gross and fine motor skills, depression, and quality of life.

3. Attendees will discover with how to integrate an evidence-based grip strengthening exercise program into a functional exercise program for older adults


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