FRAMINGHAM, MA - In a press release, Hebrew SeniorLife announced it has received a two-year grant from the Tufts Health Plan Foundation to expand and implement healthy aging programs in Massachusetts and to develop two pilot "healthy aging program communities" in Framingham, and in Lawrence, MA. HSL was awarded $117,000 in funding for the first year of the grant.
"The nation’s rapidly growing senior population is currently confronting an array of debilitating and life-threatening diseases and disabilities," says Robert J. Schreiber, M.D., HSL’s chief medical officer. "Our goal is to help seniors continue to maintain their independence and improve their quality of life through increased exercise, improved nutrition, enhanced social engagement, and increased motivation to self-manage chronic illness."
With the Tufts grant, HSL will work with community agencies andleaders in Massachusetts to expand the Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults™ program to reach an additional 1,200 to 1,600 seniors. HSL will also utilize its partnership with the Multi-Cultural Coalition on Aging, a network of community leaders from culturally diverse neighborhoods, to reach particularly vulnerable populations of seniors living in ethnic communities who are at higher risk of developing chronic illnesses.
Healthy aging communities
In addition, HSL will pilot two "healthy aging program communities" in Framingham and Lawrence, MA. Under these proposed programs, HSL would engage older adults in these two communities during six-month events tentatively called "Framingham’s Biggest Winner" and "Lawrence’s Biggest Winner" to help steer them toward better health through evidence-based programming in healthy eating, diabetes self-management, and chronic disease self-management.
"Over a sixth-month period," says Jennifer Raymond, director of evidence-based programs at HSL, "residents in these communities would be encouraged to make healthy choices by engaging in these healthy aging programs, as well as other wellness activities."
Evidence-based programs (those proven to be successful through rigorous scientific research) seek to empower older adults to become more active partners in managing their own health care. Using a train-the-trainer model, these interventions take a comprehensive approach by addressing a full spectrum of health-related concerns in older adults.
Since 2004, Hebrew SeniorLife has trained more than 500 leaders in the implementation of evidence-based healthy aging programs—on proper nutrition, exercise, falls, and chronic disease management—at 66 community organizations throughout the Commonwealth. Since June 2009, more than 800 seniors have participated in HSL-sponsored evidence-based programs.
Founded in 1903, Hebrew SeniorLife, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School, is a nonprofit, nonsectarian organization devoted to innovative research, health care, education and housing that improves the lives of seniors. For more information, please visit www.hebrewseniorlife.org