Hebrew SeniorLife 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 Lawrence.
Hebrew SeniorLife 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,” said Robert J. Schreiber, M.D., Hebrew SeniorLife’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, Hebrew SeniorLife will work with community agencies and leaders in Massachusetts to expand the Healthy Eating for Successful Living in Older Adults program to reach an additional 1,200 to 1,600 seniors.
Hebrew SeniorLife also will 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.
Hebrew SeniorLife will pilot two “healthy aging program communities” in Framingham and Lawrence. Under these proposed programs, Hebrew SeniorLife would engage older adults in these two communities during six-month events tentatively called “Lawrence’s Biggest Winner” and “Framingham’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,” said Jennifer Raymond, director of evidence-based programs at Hebrew SeniorLife, “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.
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.