Seniors to Stay Healthy and Active With New Program

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Seniors will learn how to stay healthy and active to reduce the risk factors that contribute to heart disease, depression, high blood pressure and diabetes through a new chronic disease self-management program offered by Self-Help for the Elderly, supported by a grant from the Verizon Foundation.

The $50,000 grant will help seniors better manage their chronic conditions and stay independent with educational training and by utilizing technology.

"Self-Help for the Elderly is proud to work with a company like Verizon, which is using its technology and know-how to solve the healthcare challenges seniors are facing," said Anni Chung, president and CEO of Self-Help for the Elderly. "Teaching seniors the skills to embrace a healthy lifestyle will lower costs and improve their overall quality of life."

The new chronic disease self-management program is a six-week workshop that will serve 20 seniors who will meet once a week for two and a half hours. Training will include techniques to deal with problems such as fatigue, depression and isolation. Additionally, seniors will learn appropriate exercises for maintaining and improving strength, flexibility and endurance. Technology integration will include heart monitoring apps on mobile devices and tracking of vital signs using an electronic medical records database.  Each enrolled senior will also receive a new pedometer to record the senior's daily number of steps taken. Seniors must also report the numbers to a project coordinator, with a goal of 10,000 steps taken per day.

"Verizon's partnership with Self-Help for the Elderly is part of the company's focus on using our technology and resources to find answers to our society's biggest challenges," said Gene Eng, Verizon vice-president of external affairs. "Technology-enabled self-management programs will improve long-term health outcomes of seniors, help lower healthcare costs, and improve seniors' confidence to maintain active and fulfilling lives."

The Verizon Foundation provides powerful solutions for critical societal needs in the areas of healthcare, education, and energy management.  The foundation's healthcare initiative supports technology-enabled patient-care programs improving quality and access to care for underserved communities.

According to a study by the Division of Family and Community Medicine in the School of Medicine at Stanford University, individuals who underwent a chronic disease self-management program demonstrated significant improvements in exercise, communication with physicians, health distress and fatigue, disability, and social activities limitations. They also spent fewer days in the hospital.

Self-Help for the Elderly will host an event with Verizon to provide more information at the Lady Shaw Senior Center later this morning at 11 a.m. P.T. at 1483 Mason Street, San Francisco, CA 94133.