Leaders From the Netherlands Help Launch Tenderloin Project

Officials from the Netherlands Come to SF to Kick Off 
Project Senior Vitality Based on a Successful Dutch Model  

Program Connects Seniors to Social Workers and Family via Internet

The Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, and Aging and Adult Services Director Anne Hinton  joined Curry Senior Center Executive Director Dave Knego and CLC Director Marie Jobling to kick off Project Senior Vitality on April 8th at Curry Center. The program will be a joint effort between the two cities to assist hundreds of San Francisco Tenderloin’s 14,000 seniors who live alone and are susceptible to states of loneliness, depression, acute and chronic illness and lower vitality.

The program builds on a successful Dutch model, where socially-isolated seniors living in the Netherlands were provided a tablet and a one-on-one coach, who gave 2 hours of weekly tablet training over a period of three months.  After the three months, the seniors were able to easily access the internet, connect with family and friends, create their support network and eventually access specific resources that helped to improve their overall health and nutritional habits. Results for the Dutch program found that 51% of the seniors experienced less loneliness, and 63% felt safer and more secure in their environment.

Project Senior Vitality is designed to start with Curry Senior Center residents and grow to the surrounding Tenderloin community.  Over three years, Project Senior Vitality will put 250 seniors on an upward quality-of-life spiral focused on peer and community support, less loneliness, better wellness, and self-management of chronic conditions.

Curry Senior Center has an in-house computer center filled with seniors learning and exploring technology every day.  The Dutch Model takes the desires of seniors toward positive steps in managing their health and wellness, and extends digital access to their own homes.  I see Project Senior Vitality as a win-win for the city of San Francisco and its resident seniors,” said Knego.  “The expected outcomes include: less loneliness, more community connectivity, better resident health at a lower cost and a reduction in the use of emergency health care services. We fully anticipate this scalable effort to grow far beyond our own community.”

Mayor van der Laan, a long-time supporter of the needs of the elderly, handed out the first tablets and sensors to begin the process of improvements in low-income senior health and well being to two formerly homeless seniors living in Curry Senior Center Housing, Linda Rosependowski and Judith Vincent.  Both women were the first two who leaped at the opportunity because they hope to reconnect with family as well as be empowered to be more active in the process of managing their own healthcare.  Many other seniors have already signed up on the waiting list even though the program is just getting started.

The pilot is facilitated by Healthcare Innovation Transfer, a Dutch public-private program hosted by the Dutch Consulate General in San Francisco, with additional tangible support offered by two tech companies: San Francisco’s Salesforce.com and Withings in France.   The collaborative has submitted a grant to Google Impact grant to be able to move forward quickly to launch this badly needed project.

The tour and more formal meeting ended with a  lively ‘happening” in the Curry Computer center where an enthusiastic gathering  viewed some of the highlights of the project and welcomed the Mayor and his entourage with thanks and homemade scarfs in Danish sports colors.

The Preventative Care Revolution Depends on Closing the Digital Divide

As our health care system continues to put more emphasis on preventive care, those who lack digital skills, confidence or access will lag far behind in terms of being able to manage their own health. This interesting article describes what the Tinder Foundation in Britain is doing, in partnership with their National Health Service (NHS), to bridge the digital divide. The article appeared in the Professional pages of Britian’s The Guardian.

In San Francisco, the Community Living Campaign is offering a class on how to access health information safely online with instructor Lee Ellen Shoemaker as a part of CLC’s On The Road Series. The class is suitable for people with basic computer skills. For more information, contact Judy Auda at 826‑3194.

The Preventative Care Revolution Depends on Closing the Digital Divide

Across the UK, 11 million people have poor digital skills and half those who are offline have a disability. Digital inclusion is now a matter of life and death

by Helen Milner
Guardian Professional, Friday 1 November 2013 04.31 EDT


Over-65’s account for half of NHS spending, but more than a third have never been online.

There’s a clear consenus over maintaining the great national treasure that is the NHS and preserving its ethos of providing care free at the point of delivery. But demand for health services is rising fast as society changes, so how on earth do we afford it?

It’s crucial that the NHS makes the best possible use of the funds available. Preventive care is key objective: by encouraging people to take care of their own health, pre– empting and preventing illness before it happens, the NHS can ensure its limited resources are directed towards those who need them most.

Can technology help with a preventive care revolution in healthcare? Many of us now have constant internet access and can find health information easily. I see it every day: patients use wristwatches, GPS devices and apps to track steps, heart rate, calories burned and other personal statistics.

Technology is helping people to think more intelligently about their lifestyle, exercise regime, diet and overall health. It is also allowing people to complete health transactions online, such as ordering repeat prescriptions, checking hospital reviews orbooking hospital and GP appointments.

But here’s the problem: there are 11 million people with low or no digital skills in the UK, and there is a very significant overlap between those who are digitally excluded and those who suffer from health inequalities. Half of all people who are offline have a disability, and among over 65s (who account for half of NHS spending) more than a third (36%) have never been online.

If they remain disengaged from the digital world, they won’t be part of a culture of preventive care.

Digital inclusion has a huge impact on wellbeing, helping people connect with friends and family, find jobs, feel less isolated, save money and access education. But with the preventive care revolution underway, digital inclusion will literally become a matter of life and death. People who don’t have digital skills, confidence or access will lag far behind in being able to manage their own health, leading to worse outcomes. The digital divide will become more grave than ever before.

We’re working with the NHS to engage 100,000 people, and actively train 50,000 by March 2014, to improve their digital health literacy. But more needs to be done. We want GPs and health practitioners to get more involved. Within our network of 5,000 learning centres, a few are located in GP surgeries or other health settings. Tutors will go into a surgery for a couple of hours a week to deliver training using our technology and online learning content. We want GPs to help us develop this model further.

We’re also developing 16 flagship projects that will deliver specialist courses and events, helping very hard-to-reach people gain digital skills and look at health information online. We need private industry to act too. Learning new digital skills in the community is an essential first step, but learning needs to continue at home.

Organisations in the private sector have begun supporting digital inclusion, but they need to do more to make WiFi, tablets, high-speed broadband and mobile phones available at much lower cost.

Our programme with the NHS starts with digital health information, but it has huge potential to cover much more. We want to ensure that everyone, whatever their background, can become digitally health literate and play a significant role in actively managing their own health. With cross-sector support, I’m confident no-one will be left behind.

Helen Milner is chief executive of the Tinder Foundation

The Tinder Foundation has been an active bridge builder over the digital divide.  See more at http://www.tinderfoundation.org

Aging While Black Forum — Visitacion Valley

Article by Deloris McGee, Photos by Etta Jones

The community came out to get information on aging at The Village in Visitacion Valley on February 13. LaVaughn King, Executive Director of Reducing Stress in the Southeast, was the skilled moderator for this event.  Uverda Harry gave such a resounding presentation that the community wanted her to continue.  Makula  Goodwin gave the statistics surrounding Glaucoma in the African American community. And she made sure that seniors knew that they should get their eyes checked.  She also spoke on caregiving for the elderly and how to find good resources at a reasonable price.  This is a service that most seniors have a problem paying for.

Wanda Materra asked the question in her Mental Health Presentation “what did we think mental illness was and was there a stigma attached to it that most people will not go for treatment?”  She stated that we have to eliminate the stigma so that people can get help.  And that we must help our families and friends who are suffering from this disease.

There was a lunch served after the presentation and a drawing for gifts.   One of the attendees said that this forum should be given in each housing complex so that seniors can be aware of the resources and services that is available to them.

The Always Active Program Is Fun (In A Healthy Sort of Way)

IMG_0344Hats off to Glenda Hope and the Cayuga Connectors for finally getting me in an exercise class — and one that fits my abilities and my pocketbook.

Thanks to 30th Street Senior Center and On Lok, we now have a wonderful trainer coming to a church in the Cayuga Neighborhood. With her help, there is a group of 16 of us improving our well-being through exercise and health education in a program for people over the age of 60 called Always Active.

The Cayuga class meets every Monday and Wednesday at 9:45 at Bethel Center, 2557 Alemany Blvd. To join or for more information, contact Jean Grady at (415) 550‑6003, jgrady@onlok.org. Or download an Always Active Flyer for Cayuga

The Always Active program offers you the chance to participate in general exercise classes and receive a personalized wellness plan designed by you, your doctor and the program coordinator.  This wellness plan will provide you with the knowledge to take action on a daily and/or weekly exercise program to increase your energy, strength and balance while helping you to reduce and prevent the incidence of many chronic diseases such as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. Always Active is a great opportunity to make new friends, improve your health, and learn skills to enhance your overall well-being!

I’m not the only one who has found this class helpful. According to Glenda, “I walk and garden and clean my house but this uses different muscles.  I really need this, especially for my balance.  I thought I was in good shape, but…I knew I wasn’t.”

And we are not the only ones who appreciate the Always Active Program. Glenda reports that participants keep saying “thanks so much for bringing this into our neighborhood.”

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IHSS (and Technology) into the Future

The IHSS Public Authority drew hundreds of In-home Supportive Services (IHSS) recipients, home care providers and their supporters at a special conference on February 20th. The IHSS Program is facing uncharted waters as the state of California seeks to integrate IHSS into a “managed care” healthcare system. The day was packed with speakers who could tell attendees what to expect and answer questions.

And across the hall from the main program area, the Community Living Campaign and our partners in the SF Connected Program showcased how seniors and people with can get connected and stay informed by learning to use computers, iPads, Android tablets, assistive technology and much more. There were even fun introductions to Skype, Wii, CLC’s own “Twitter Mirror,” and our new mascot.

To learn more about the San Francisco IHSS Public Authority, visit their website.

To learn more about how to use computers, tablets and other fun tools for connection, visit www.SFConnected.org/home or CLC’s classes at www.sfcommunityliving.org.