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Trenton, NJ 08625-0360

For Release:
June 11, 2003

Clifton R. Lacy, M.D.

For Further Information Contact:
Donna Leusner

Department Receives Grant to Help Seniors Live Long, Live Well
HealthEASE to Coordinate Local Health Promotion Services


TRENTON – New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services Commissioner Clifton R. Lacy, M.D. announced today the department has received a $300,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Initiatives project to develop pilot programs promoting longer and healthier lives for seniors.


The grant will fund the expansion of the Department’s existing NJEASE system to create HealthEASE pilots in Ocean and Bergen Counties.  NJEASE is a single statewide point of contact for coordinated and comprehensive care management and social support services for older adults.


HealthEase will expand on this concept to provide the same single-point access for information and services with a new focus – the promotion of health and wellness activities as a regular part of older adults’ lives.


HealthEASE will improve access to existing services by coordinating current community-based offerings from public and private providers through County Wellness Coalitions comprised of health and aging service providers and diverse community representatives.  HealthEASE will build upon existing activities through the development and implementation of physical activity, education and mental health programs designed specifically for persons over age sixty.


“The best medicine is prevention,” said Commissioner Lacy.  “HealthEASE will help seniors maintain their physical and mental well-being through a comprehensive, coordinated program of exercise, education and health promotion.”


Specific HealthEASE program components will include:


·         Quarterly comprehensive screening programs implemented through the County Wellness Coalitions to assure a broad scope of services and adequate resources. 

·         County Wellness Coalition coordinators in both counties to develop and maintain a listing of health information resources for older adults and their families. 

·         A 12-session, peer-led non-aerobic exercise class designed to improve flexibility, balance and stamina and provide exercise-related education. 

·         A six-session curriculum on health promotion and disease prevention offered at community sites and covering topics such as exercise and physical activity, nutrition, home safety, medication management and substance abuse, communicating with health care providers, self-management techniques for chronic diseases and conditions, and the importance of screening and immunization.

·         Three-session mental health education programs and post-program follow-up offered to older adults and caregivers to provide them with strategies to manage better the social and emotional challenges they encounter.  

·         A formalized walking program implemented through community sites and organizations.  Walkers will track their miles and be recognized for achieving various milestones.


“With the support of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the two pilot counties, we will develop and promote best-practices to help seniors statewide live longer and healthier lives,” said Dr. Lacy.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, based in Princeton, is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to health and health care.  It concentrates its grantmaking in four goal areas: to assure that all Americans have access to quality health care at reasonable cost; to improve the quality of care and support for people with chronic health conditions; to promote healthy communities and lifestyles; and to reduce the personal, social and economic harm caused by substance abuse – tobacco, alcohol and illicit drugs.






Note:  Attached is a list of individuals and senior organizations being honored at the conference for their efforts to promote healthy lifestyles for older adults.   The honorees were chosen from among those nominated by individuals and community-based organization statewide.



Individuals and Groups Honored at the Older Adult Health Promotion Conference



Arnold Bull, Rumson (Monmouth County) – At age 85, Mr. Bull is the oldest active, certified, aerobic instructor in the country.  He conducts aerobic exercise programs for seniors at various centers including the SCAN Learning Center and the Long Branch Senior Citizens Center.  Mr. Bull is a motivational speaker and the author of a soon-to-be published book, Longevity in Action – How to Feel Young and Energetic at Any Age.


Louise DiDia, East Windsor (Mercer) – Mrs. DiDia exhibits a youthful, healthy image due to being fit physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.  Mrs. DiDia likes to golf and go bowling.  She is a quilter, reader, traveler, communicator and motivator.  She is a past president of the Princeton County Club Women’s Golf League and works as a computer teacher’s assistant.  She begins each day with meditation and attendance at Mass.


Rose City Steppers, Madison (Morris) – Rose City Steppers encourages adults to add more movement to their daily activities and sponsors monthly group walks with set routes, with optional weekly walks throughout the summer.  Their website publishes members’ goal achievements, the walk calendar, fitness and health articles, and has links to related sites and pictures of their events.  In 2002, the Steppers became “Madison on the Move,” a pedometer-based program with members pledging to log a minimum of 5,000 steps per day at least 20 days per month.  Incentive pins were awarded to those who met their goals at three, six and twelve months.  


Men’s Health Day, Ridgewood (Bergen) – This annual event encourages older adults to engage in healthy behaviors by providing them with convenient tools to prevent or manage various health issues.  Though it is geared toward health concerns that affect men, women are invited and do attend.  Men are offered free skin cancer screenings, blood pressure screenings, and colorectal screenings.  Free lectures include topics such as prostate health, hair loss and sports medicine.  Additional screenings/immunizations available for a small fee include prostate cancer screening, flu shots and pneumonia vaccine.  Follow-up letters are sent as a reminder for people who were given a recommendation to consult a physician.  In addition to offering traditional health lectures, information on hobbies, local businesses and leisure-time activities allows men to enjoy the day, concentrating on their emotional as well as their physical health.


Long Beach Island Project Healthy Bones, Haven Beach (Ocean) – Project Healthy Bones is an exercise and education program for people who have or are at risk for developing osteoporosis.  Participants meet twice weekly for 45 minutes of balance training and weight lifting.  A registered nurse leads an educational component that covers such topics as osteoporosis, nutrition, exercise, stress reduction and age-appropriate health screenings. The program on Long Beach Island has become a strong support system for it 60 participants.


Friends of Grace Korean Itinerant Dance Team, Fort Lee (Bergen) – This team of traditional Korean dance performers is made up of seniors ranging in age from 60 to 80. What started out as a weekly dance class two years ago has grown into a troupe of dedicated dancers who perform at meetings, senior centers and day care centers in Bergen County.  The program has helped participants to recognize that seniors can learn new things, while also maintaining healthy mind and body.  The program helps to prevent or minimize medical problems in older seniors, as they become more active doing things they enjoy.

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