Two of New Jersey’s leading nonprofit senior living providers, Parker Health Group, Inc. and Springpoint, have joined forces to create the Affordable Housing Wellness Initiative to help improve the health and well-being of older adults living in four Springpoint affordable housing communities.
The 3-year initiative is designed as a pilot program that can be expanded to all 19 Springpoint affordable housing communities in New Jersey and potentially serve as a model for other affordable housing providers. The program is being managed by Springpoint, utilizing their whole-person wellness program known as LivWell.
The Springpoint affordable housing division provides safe, comfortable rental apartments to over 2,000 vulnerable adults in New Jersey, ages 62 and older, who have limited financial means. In 2020, Parker and Springpoint joined forces to conduct a survey of these community residents to determine the potential need for services and technology to better their quality of life.
The survey results indicated that residents were lacking access to programming related to their physical and mental well-being. The findings also revealed that over 40 percent of residents lacked sufficient access to the internet, an essential tool for older adults to stay connected and engaged. In all, the survey identified a strong need for engaging social based programs to help combat isolation and depression, particularly among the 80 to 89 year old age group. To address this need, Parker and Springpoint agreed to establish and co-fund the Affordable Housing Wellness Initiative to bring LivWell health and wellness programming to residents in the following affordable housing communities: The Gables at West Windsor, Wheaton Pointe at East Windsor, Watchung Terrace at Middlesex, and Hidden Brook at Franklin.
“We are happy to partner with a quality organization like Springpoint to provide innovative programming that will enable these residents to live their best lives as they age,” says Roberto Muñiz, President and CEO of Parker Health Group. “It demonstrates what organizations like ours can do when we work together to provide services that we could not do on our own. We hope this program will serve as a model and an inspiration for other organizations to provide supportive programs to vulnerable elders.”
LivWell is a life enrichment program that is operating successfully in 8 Springpoint Life Plan Communities. The award-winning program is based on a whole-person wellness model that strives to integrate and balance all dimensions of wellness: physical, emotional, social, intellectual, vocational, environmental, and spiritual. LivWell uses individual health and well-being assessments, goal setting, and outcome tracking to help community members make the choices that keep them healthy, engaged, and living their best life.
“The philosophy of the LivWell program is to provide an opportunity to engage in experiences which support a high quality of life, personal choice, lifelong development, and an optimal sense of well-being, says Anthony A. Argondizza, President and CEO of Springpoint. “Together with Parker, we have the unique opportunity in a community setting to not only serve many individuals at once but to also have them support each other. Through the Affordable Housing Wellness Initiative, the staff and residents of these communities will work together with the ultimate goals of high quality of life and well-being as the cornerstones of their culture of wellness.”
Key components of the Affordable Housing Wellness Initiative include evidence-based fall prevention programs, fitness and balance classes, wellness check-ins, health education, nutrition programs, brain fitness classes, and stress reduction programs. The Wellness Initiative encompasses a significant investment in technology, including implementation of a digital communication platform and purchase of mobile tablets that can be used by the resident on a loaner basis. This enhanced technology will allow residents to access content and services online despite transportation and mobility challenges.
Parker and Springpoint will gauge success of the program through resident surveys, program attendance, and resident feedback. This data will serve as a guide for the purposeful design of services and experiences as the program evolves.