Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Concept of Third Age Life Center Could Revolutionize Health Care

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Concept of Third Age Life Center Could Revolutionize Health Care

Article excerpt

The Third Age Life Center, a germinating idea that sprouted last year at Baptist Medical Center, offers new hope to literally thousands of people who are learning - if they didn't know beforehand - that life can, indeed, be bright, productive and satisfying as an older adult.

When the plan was announced, a renowned gerontologist called it a new concept that could, over time, revolutionize the delivery of health care in this country. Deeply imbedded in the idea is a view that acute hospital care alone is not the total answer to the good health needs of older Americans.

It differs markedly from other approaches in that it requires active participation by people who are 55 or older. Like so many projects undertaken in these times, there were obvious financial risks to be weighed by Baptist's upper management. Thus far, it appears, the third age notion was a risk worth taking.

Last week, the center reported a membership in excess of 9,000.

At the same time, Stanley F. Hupfeld, president of Oklahoma Healthcare Corp., revealed that the Third Age Life Center had been named the winner of a national innovator award for hospitals and medical centers. The award will be presented next month during ceremonies in Orlando, Fla.

Simply described, the third age is that period of an individual's life after the working years have passed - or the end of that phase of life is approaching. The point of it all is that much more is to be done in the remaining years, to be accomplished with vigor and enthusiasm.

Those directly involved are taught to put away stereotypes of older people.

Membership to the center's Lifepass program is free, with advisors available around the clock to help them gain access to needed services. Amond the practical benefits: assistance with health insurance and Medicare claims, and information pertaining to discounts and savings on pharmaceutical and other health care items. …

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