2.28.18: Senior Fitness Pioneers: SilverSneakers
The SilverSneakers fitness program is a health plan benefit available through Medicare, providing older adults with fitness center memberships, customized group exercise classes, and a supportive social environment promoting socialization among participants.
America’s population is dramatically shifting toward a 65+ majority, and the resulting transformation in the size and makeup Medicare driving up federal health care spending. From 2010 to 2030 – the number of U.S. adults over 65 is projected to go from 40 million to 79 million, with healthcare spending rising from $2.7 trillion to over $5 trillion. The aging of the baby boomer generation and the current economic environment are creating tremendous pressure on the fiscal viability of Medicare as it currently stands.
Chronic disease and associated problems are also driving Medicare spending. Nearly 91% of people age 65 and older have 1 or more chronic health conditions; more than half of this population are treated for 5 or more conditions ,and this group accounts for a disproportionate amount of spending (79%). Approximately one fourth of people with chronic illness also have 1 or more limitations in activities of daily living (ADLs), such as walking, bathing, and dressing, and their health care spending often more than doubles in cost. As you might expect, most people with activity limitations are Medicare members.
In addition to disease-related morbidity and functional decline, seniors often face loneliness, social isolation, and depression, which can negatively influence their health and overall quality of life. These factors working in combination with chronic conditions and movement impairments can seriously compromise seniors’ health and well-being. Social interactions, like those facilitated by SilverSneakers, have been shown to be associated with positive physiological benefits that can promote better health outcomes.
Given the explosive growth of the Medicare population and the related trends of increasing morbidity and decline in functional movement, there is a critical need for senior-oriented programs that improve health and preserve and extend functional capabilities, effectively improving senior’s overall quality of life. Combining the elements of socialization and physical activity for seniors is demonstrably effective in improving the physical and emotional health of this group.
Hit your 30 minutes of activity per day and stay connected with our fun-to-use Flashfit app that provides aerobic and strength-building exercises in one-minute bursts. No special equipment needed – just your phone and positive vibes. www.flash.fit
Sources: NIH, Chicago Tribune