(STOCKTON, Calif. – July 9, 2014) – Lifeguards at the YMCA of San Joaquin County recently had the opportunity to “walk in the shoes of an older adult” thanks to Trading AgesTM, an interactive senior-sensitivity training program developed and delivered by SCAN Health Plan. Trading Ages allows participants to experience some of the physical and emotional challenges that come with aging. The lifeguards, who range in age from 16 to 26 years old, underwent the training in preparation for the launch of new senior aquatics classes being offered at YMCA pools throughout San Joaquin County.
“SCAN’s program was an ‘eye-opening’ experience for all of us,” said Cindy Silligman, aquatics director, YMCA of San Joaquin County. “As an organization we are committed to providing the best possible service to those who take our classes, and our staff really appreciated the opportunity to actually experience the challenges of growing older. Now we are even better prepared to interact with older adults who may be dealing with aging challenges.”
Trading Ages allows participants to experience firsthand a series of age‐related conditions such as hearing loss, vision changes and loss of dexterity. The training also utilizes tools to accelerate aging and helps participants understand how seniors struggle with everyday activities. To mimic the difficulties experienced with arthritis, for example, program participants were asked to button their shirts or open medication bottles wearing heavy gloves. Volunteers also put popcorn in their shoes and walked around to simulate the feeling of painful joints in the feet. Others strapped their arm to their side to feel how limiting it can be to deal with the effects of a stroke.
SCAN has been offering aging-sensitivity training to its employees for many years as a way to better understand the needs and mindset of its health plan members. The program is also offered to SCAN board members, physician groups, legislators and businesses to enhance their sensitivity in dealing with older adults.
“As a health plan focused exclusively on the needs of seniors, SCAN is in a unique position to help people understand more about the aging process,” said Karen Sugano, general manager for SCAN in Northern California. “We are pleased to be a partner in bringing to the community these programs that will have a positive impact on local seniors.”
Last month SCAN, YMCA, and the city of Tracy announced the launch of water aerobics classes specifically for older adults. San Joaquin residents age 65 and older are being offered six free classes at four community pools in the county.
SCAN Health Plan is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit MAPD plans currently serving 170,000 members in California. Further information may be obtained at scanhealthplan.com or on Facebook at facebook.com/scanhealthplan.
About the YMCA of San Joaquin County
The YMCA of San Joaquin County has been dedicated to serving the community since 1855. Its vision is to be the program of choice for inspiring youth to reach their greatest potential. The YMCA of San Joaquin County is a non-facility organization that provides programs at different sites in Stockton, Linden, Lodi and Tracy. It is governed by a 16-member volunteer board of directors. More than 700 volunteers and staff serve the YMCA and community as coaches, mentors, fundraisers and tutors. For more information, please visit www.ymcasjc.org.
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