If loneliness is the fear for old age, what can a community do to fight back?
An AARP study estimated that about 17% of adults over age 50 suffer from social isolation. Not all seniors end up in nursing homes and assisted living. There are many who prefer to be independent and live at home. But can a 90-year-old organize a day trip to participate in a community event, check his blood pressure from time to time, or handle his recovery after a fall?
For Jeff Hattori, CEO of Nikkei Concerns NC, seeing elderly being isolated, living alone, is an opportunity for the agency to innovate. NC and AARP are partnering together to develop a 6-month pilot healthcare program called NC Club to decrease social isolation and improve health for 25 Asian seniors who live in Seattle or Bellevue.
AARP presented a check of $150,000 to NC to fund the program on Jan. 15 at the Nikkei Manor.
What the program entails is the use of technology, monitoring, and support from a registered nurse and personal concierge, along with weekly rides to community activities. Computer and Skype will be set up to get elderly involved so they can interact with family members and friends. A nurse will visit the home of the seniors to check on blood pressure and other health needs.
Doris Koo, AARP board member of Washington state, said the goal of NC Club is to improve the quality of life for the seniors. This program has been used in mainstream communities, but NC Club will be the first one for Asian Americans. To qualify, you have to be 50 years and up, speak English or Japanese, have at least one chronic health condition, feel socially isolated and committed to full participation in the 6-month program. (end)
For info, call (206) 348-0417.