(LONG BEACH, Calif. – July 16, 2015) — Government staff members in Long Beach are now even more prepared to interact with and understand the diverse needs of their older constituents after being given the opportunity this week to personally “experience” many of the physical and emotional challenges that come with aging. The experience was part of Trading Ages™, an interactive senior-sensitivity training program developed and delivered by SCAN Health Plan.
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 hearing loss, for example, program participants were asked to take a hearing test while wearing earplugs and contending with outside distractions. Others strapped their arm to their side to feel how limiting it can be to deal with the effects of a stroke.
Participants in the July 14 workshop, held at the Long Beach Main Library, included staff members from the offices of Congressman Alan Lowenthal, Assembly member Patrick O’Donnell, Sen. Ricardo Lara, and Mayor Robert Garcia as well as staffers from the offices of Long Beach City Council members Lena Gonzalez, Stacy Mungo, Roberto Uranga, Al Austin and Rex Richardson. All of the participants regularly interact with older adults in the Long Beach community.
“Trading Ages really brings day-to-day experiences for older adults into perspective,” said participant Amanda Stayton, office manager, Councilwoman Stacy Mungo. “We should always be aware of and make provisions for the challenges they face – whether physical or mental.”
“Given the enormous growth of the aging population, it is imperative that our elected leaders and their staff members truly understand the needs and challenges of older adults,” said Peter Begans, SCAN’s senior vice president of public, government and community affairs. “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. The Trading Ages workshop is one way we do that, and it is a wonderfully introspective experience.”
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.
Earlier this week at the White House Conference on Aging, President Obama remarked that, “More than 250,000 Americans turn 65 every month. They’re living longer. They’re living healthier. One of the best measures of a country is how it treats its older citizens.”
For information on hosting a free Trading Ages workshop in your community, call 866-421-1964.
SCAN Health Plan is one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans currently serving nearly 170,000 members in California. For more information on SCAN, visit scanhealthplan.com or facebook.com/scanhealthplan.
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