Upper Arlington News

UA Senior Center

Silver Sneakers program now more accessible

Older adults now have easier access to the Silver Sneakers program, which could translate to increased usage of the Upper Arlington Senior Center, according to recreation supervisor Jane Sindel.

Owned by health and well-being improvement company Healthways, Silver Sneakers is a program that encourages physical activity and offers social events for seniors.

"Silver Sneakers is a program that gives people fun exercise options that they can do with their friends, and ours isn't the only site for it," Sindel said. "Those who qualify are 65 or older, and on Medicare. Users can come in and use our facilities, play table tennis or pump iron, and with the Silver Sneakers plan, it's either free or discounted."

Sindel said that while seniors previously needed to come to a location like the senior center and go through the application process for Silver Sneakers, Healthways this month began mailing every senior who qualifies the proper paperwork to be a part of the program.

"Healthways is now sending everyone a new card for Silver Sneakers, so rather than putting the burden on them, they'll get contacted if they're qualified, and can take it to the three participating locations closest to their home address," Sindel said. "People who may have had some trepidation about coming in, not knowing if they're qualified, now that takes care of the problem."

Sindel said that about 500 seniors are currently enrolled in the Silver Sneakers program at the center. With the change in how the Silver Sneakers is administered, those numbers may swell, she said.

"I think it'll make it more of a friendly program for our seniors," Sindel said. "It will increase the utilization of our programs not just here, but across the nation, really. This just makes it simpler."

Sindel said the center is already equipped for an increase in usage. In fact, the recreation supervisor said she's excited about the prospect of new faces coming through the door.

"This program is essentially a win-win," Sindel said. "Healthways provides this service, which helps the insurance companies to have healthier people in their insurance programs. When insurance spends the money to give people access to staying physically and mentally active, then these are going to be healthier people.

"Secondly, they come here to do that, which is great for us because it keeps us rolling along, and the person feels better from doing more while not spending as much out of their pocket."

More information on the Silver Sneakers program can be found online at www.silversneakers.com or by calling 1-888-423-4632.