Keiro Senior Healthcare Serves as Wellness Model

By Belli, Diane Kujubu; Miyake, Shawn | Aging Today, July/August 2011 | Go to article overview

Keiro Senior Healthcare Serves as Wellness Model


Belli, Diane Kujubu, Miyake, Shawn, Aging Today


As the world's population ages at an unprecedented rate, one of our nation's great concerns is that by the year 2050, 21% of the population will be older than age 65. The Japanese American community has been facing this reality since 2000.

Seven years ago, Keiro Senior HealthCare (Keiro Services) in Los Angeles, the largest healthcare organization serving the Japanese American community through long-term residential care, accepted a challenge from its board of directors to think of a sustainable approach to provide care for our aging community.

In 2006, Keiro launched the Institute for Healthy Aging at Keiro, which aims to improve a community's health through a self-managed approach to wellness. The Institute is based upon four facts: only 5% of people ages 65 and older live in nursing homes; most would prefer to age in place; the current long-term-care model of institutional care is unsustainable; and 70% of health problems associated with aging can be prevented or mitigated by changes in behavior- particularly during midlife and later.

Promoting Wellness

Through the Institute, Keiro has touched the broader life of the community by promoting wellness and equipping individuals 50 years and older with lifestyle management information, resources and tools addressing health issues, from heart disease and swine flu prevention to promoting eye health. In partnerships with organizations such as AARP and the Partners in Care Foundation, die Institute for Healthy Aging is now developing better measures to track the Japanese American community's health, and the impact of the Institute's evidence-based, best practices approach to health promotion and wellness.

With evidence-based programs such as Memory Kai (kai means assembly or meeting), a memory enhancement program developed at the UCLA Center for Aging that teaches practical techniques for enhancing memory, Keiro has been able to address some of the issues of most concern to baby boomers in general.

Strengthening the Social Network

Keiro also collaborates with close to 40 Japanese community centers, senior citizens' organizations, temples and churches that serve as venues and provide volunteers for caregiver conferences, seminars, workshops and health screenings. In this way, Keiro uses existing social networks within the community to provide education and volunteer opportunities so individuals can remain actively engaged in life. …

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