The New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services created, implemented and evaluated HealthEASE—a coordinated health promotion program for older adults to change the way in which services are delivered locally. The program included health promotion programs specifically for older adults in the areas of health education, physical activity, coordinated screening and mental health.
The project team:
- Developed a comprehensive health screening program, exercise programs, health education classes and training seminars for health professionals.
- Pilot tested the program in two counties and expanded it to 19 other New Jersey counties.
- Commissioned a formal evaluation of the program by Anne Hewitt, Ph.D., of Mountainside Associates in Morristown, N.J.
This project was part of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's New Jersey Health Initiatives program.
- A total of 3,009 seniors were evaluated at 18 comprehensive screening events in Bergen and Ocean counties.
- 110 seniors attended programs focused on the connection between mental and physical well-being.
- A total of 120 seniors attended peer-led, 12-session exercise classes, called Move Today.
- 910 seniors attended health education classes.
Key Evaluation Findings:
- An average of 33 percent of seniors screened in Bergen County and 41 percent screened in Ocean County in 2004 and 2005 had abnormal findings, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, high blood glucose or overweight.
- 43 percent of seniors in Bergen County and 61 percent in Ocean County said their overall health improved after completing the 12-session exercise program, Move Today.
- 59 percent of seniors in Bergen County and 57 percent in Ocean County said they were "likely" or "very likely" to take action steps, such as start exercising or spend time on pleasant activities, after completing the Mind/Body sessions (a three-part education program about the link between physical and mental health).
While the need to address disparities in care is well known, few strategies for reducing disparities have been studied systematically.
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