During pandemic, COA adapts Healthy U to reach older adults at home
Healthy U workshops focus on helping older adults take better control of their health. The workshops are successful because they bring together people who are facing common obstacles to healthy living, but who also share a common goal. And, the workshops are led by someone who’s been in their shoes.
But because of the COVID-19 pandemic, workshops that were typically held in community settings such as churches and community centers, had to be cancelled.
The pandemic left many people – especially older adults and caregivers – feeling very isolated and cut-off from society. Recognizing the need to keep older adults engaged and invested in their health and well-being, COA adapted Healthy U to be offered as virtual and phone-based workshops.
More than 200 older adults participated in COA-sponsored Healthy U workshops
during FY 2020 (workshops prior to March 2020 met in person). With the switch to the virtual format, workshop registration was centralized to provide a single point of contact for older adults to call with questions.
Taking part in these online or phone workshops meant older adults were able to remain in the comfort of their homes and maintain safe social distancing, while still exploring their own health and wellness. The no-contact Healthy U workshops brought people together and combated the isolation felt by many older adults due to the pandemic.
“With workshops offered using both telephone and computer technology, transportation was no longer a barrier,” said Judy Eschmann, COA’s vice president of Community and Business Operations. “This allowed seniors from across our five-county service area to attend workshops together.”
In 2020, 13 volunteer leaders were trained to facilitate workshops focused on chronic pain self-management, a new offering for COA’s Healthy U program. This addition increased the total number of wellness programs offered to four. Healthy U also offers classes focused diabetes, chronic disease self-management and fall prevention.
For more information on Healthy U, visit www.help4seniors.org/healthyu.