The Olympic Area Agency on Aging helps older adults and persons with disabilities maintain their dignity, health, and independence in their own homes through a coordinated system of home and community-based services throughout Clallam, Grays Harbor, Jefferson, and Pacific counties.
Since March, the coronavirus pandemic has obstructed older adults from participating in exercise or fitness classes which help them to build and maintain strength and agility. It’s known that as we age, we all experience some loss of muscle mass and strength. Exercising is important for all of us. However, especially so for older adults as it helps to make muscles stronger and more flexible which can help prevent serious injuries from falling.
Washington State’s Department of Health reports, “in Washington State, fall-related injuries account for more than half of all injury-related deaths of adults aged 65+, and 70 percent of all injury-related deaths for adults aged 85+.”
In addition, there are now serious health concerns for older adults who are at risk for social isolation and loneliness due to the pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “loneliness and social isolation in older adults are serious public health risks affecting a significant number of people in the United States and putting them at risk for dementia and other serious medical conditions”.
As more individuals and businesses are getting accustomed to using virtual platforms like Zoom and Skype for keeping in touch or holding meetings, it presents an opportunity to use the same technology to reach into the homes of older adults to offer them virtual health programs. Apple Health (Medicaid) is already using virtual platforms for telehealth and telemedicine.
The Olympic Area Agency on Aging is releasing a unique Request for Proposals (RFP) for “Virtual” Evidence-based Health Programs. The aim of this RFP is to be able to offer older adults (60+) the ability to participate in virtual evidence-based health programs, from the comfort of their own home. This funding opportunity is for people who are interested in helping older adults increase coordination, maintain mobility, manage chronic pain, decrease stress, and avoid the feeling of loneliness and isolation. A copy of the RFP is available under Special Opportunities on the Contracting tab at www.o3a.org. The funding can cover some of the costs to become certified to provide the virtual evidence-based program.
Some examples of virtual evidence-based health programs include:
• Healthy IDEAS
• On the Move
• Tai Ji Quan – Moving for Better Balance
• Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL)
• Chronic-Disease Self-Management Program
• Stress-Busting Program for Family Caregivers
Janis Housden, the Program Manager for Olympic Area Agency on Aging, who manages the funding and contracts for evidence-based health programs sees this as an opportunity to “virtually pay a visit to older adults in their own home”. Janis states, “it is important that we try and offer older adults health programs in their own homes to encourage them to exercise to help prevent falls. It also gives the older adult the opportunity to connect and visit with other people in their online class.” Janis added that these virtual visits can be just as important to their physical well-being as their mental well-being.
To learn more about the funding opportunity please contact Janis Housden at [email protected] or visit Olympic Area Agency on Aging’s website at www.O3A.org.