Program Connects Seniors to Social Workers and Family via Internet
The Mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan, and San Francisco Supervisor Jane Kim join Curry Senior Center Executive Director Dave Knego to kick off Project Senior Vitality. The program is a joint effort between the two cities to assist 4,800 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, will hand 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.