The Asian American Diabetes Initiative (AADI) at Joslin Diabetes Center has received a $70,089 grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to fund Healthy Living for All Seasons, which offers elderly Asians with, or at risk for, diabetes the opportunity to take part in educational workshops and seminars focusing on exercise, improved diet, and the prevention of diabetes complications.
The grant is part of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation's focus on healthy aging for older adults 60+. The foundation is in its fifth year of funding programs that promote older adult health. This grant is part of its Health & Wellness programming, which focuses primarily on promoting chronic disease self-management and prevention, exercise and nutrition, and fall prevention.
"By focusing our grantmaking on healthy aging, we've been able to create a thoughtful pattern of giving that helps older adults in our communities live more meaningful lives," said Jim Roosevelt, President of the Tufts Health Plan Foundation and CEO of Tufts Health Plan. "We hope through the programs we fund, we can continue to make a real difference in the lives of older adults and in encouraging all of our society to see aging as an opportunity for healthy aging rather than aging as a way in which people are limited in their lives."
The long-term goal of Healthy Living for All Seasons is to improve the overall health and quality of life for elderly Asians living in Quincy, MA. The program will concentrate in two areas: 1) increased awareness and understanding of diabetes and its complications; and 2) practical training in the role of diet, exercise, and medication in improving health outcomes. The program will also work to raise awareness among and provide support for the families and caretakers of these individuals.
"We are very excited to be in Quincy - ever since AADI was founded in 2000, we have done various outreach events in the Boston area, but this is our first program where we can work with the community throughout the 12 months," said George King, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Joslin and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School. "Working together with Multicultural Home Care, we look forward to learning from the many seniors and their family members in the fast growing Asian community here in Massachusetts. The short-term goal is to develop programs that can eliminate disparity in diabetes care in the Asian-American community at Joslin's Asian Clinic and community settings as well as support Asians who are touched by diabetes."
Healthy Living for All Seasons will be conducted by healthcare professionals from the AADI at Joslin, including an endocrinologist and certified diabetes educator. The recruitment and participation will be facilitated by a joint effort among the AADI and the Multicultural Home Care (MHC) of Quincy. The residential care coordinators and building managers at the participating housing facilities for the elderly will also lend their assistance.
Four educational sessions will take place at three-month intervals at each location, for a total of 12 sessions over the course of the year. Educational seminars on a broad variety of diabetes-related topics will be presented along with exercise sessions and food demonstrations. Recruitment for Healthy Living for All Seasons took place in late 2013, and the sessions will begin in February 2014.
The primary languages spoken among the Chinese residents in these three facilities are Toisanese, Cantonese, and Mandarin. According to an MHC staff member who participates in monthly visits with an RN and knows the residents well, the Toisanese-speaking residents understand Cantonese; therefore, materials and education sessions will be given in Cantonese and Mandarin. Both AADI and MHC staff are multilingual and will be able to communicate with residents in their primary language.