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Attending a Wellness Center is good for a senior’s health!


November 9, 2018

Our mission is about independence. And what that means is that our services delay or prevent the need for institutionalized care. We know anecdotally that our services help seniors stay in their homes, where they want to be. Family members, and often the seniors themselves, tell us that they could not have safely remained at home without our services. While it’s easy to see the connection between independence and our services such as Meals on Wheels and home care, sometimes it’s more difficult to see the connection for our Wellness Center clients.

We operate four Wellness Centers in the county, and as part of that service, we transport clients to and from their homes to attend the center. Although the primary purpose of the center is to provide a hot, nutritious meal, we also provide substantial programming to engage seniors in socialization, education, and fun. The clients get out of their homes, have a meal with their friends, and participate in physical fitness activities among other things.

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) is a federal agency that oversees both the Wellness Center (also called congregate meal programs) and the Meals on Wheels programs. ACL has engaged in a multi-phased research initiative to look at the health benefits derived by participants in these programs. Underscored in their study is the significant vulnerability of the seniors served by groups such as Senior Resources.

The most recent release of the client outcome study has some interesting and relevant findings. Their study found that health care utilization was lower for congregate meal participants (like our Wellness Center clients) than non-participants. Participants were less likely than non-participants to have a hospital admission, and less likely to have an emergency department visit that led to a hospital admission. The study also found that the rate of nursing home admissions for participants was lower than the rate for non-participants. Overall, there were sizable differences found in outcomes between congregate meal participants and non-participants. These differences were magnified when the participants were lower-income individuals. If you’d like to read results from the entire study, it can be found here.

Essentially, the study validated what we already knew…our services are important to the health, well-being and independence of our senior clients!

By Pam Dukes, Executive Director

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