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Photo credit: CreativeAging.org

Funders across the nation have helped to launch and support community-centered approaches to address a wide range of issues.

Since almost three-quarters of people age 65 and older say that they are in good to excellent health, programs that support wellness are needed to help them stay that way. Especially when you consider that most chronic diseases—which inflict a steep cost in health, quality of life, and health care costs — can be prevented or controlled by paying attention to the environment in which we live, work, and play, as well as what we eat and how regularly we exercise.

Here are a few examples of wellness programs supported by grantmakers:

The May and Stanley Smith Charitable Trust awarded $200,000 over two years to Saint Barnabas Senior Services in Los Angeles to provide health and wellness programs for older adults living with chronic diseases. Saint Barnabas offers an evidence-based chronic disease management program designed by Stanford University that offers techniques to deal with fatigue, pain, and isolation. Interactive classes address medication management, nutrition, treatment evaluation, and more. The program is offered in English and Spanish.

In Dallas, the WellMed Charitable Foundation (WCF) awarded a grant of almost $143,000 to the Dallas Park and Recreation Department that allows it to waive the required $10 annual and $5 monthly recreation access fees for Dallas residents ages 60 and older for 12 months. A host of activity programs for older people are offered at Dallas Park and Recreation’s 42 recreation centers from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Thursday. These include aerobics, walking clubs, weight training, bridge, dominoes, arts and crafts, book clubs, day trips, fitness and nutrition classes, volunteer opportunities, and more.

Under its Target Wellness grants program, the Mat-Su Health Foundation in Alaska awarded a $6,000 grant to Chickaloon Native Village to support a yearly tribal celebration and health fair to connect the community to available resources. The Ahtna Athabascan Tribe is located in Sutton, about a 90-minute drive from Anchorage

Fit & Strong is an evidence-based exercise program that combines flexibility, strength training, and aerobic walking with health education for sustained behavior change among older adults with lower extremity osteoarthritis. The Retirement Research Foundation awarded a one-year, $50,000 grant to the University of Illinois at Chicago—where the program was developed at the university’s Center for Research on Health and Aging—to more widely spread the program by creating a web-based training curriculum for new instructors in partnership with the National Recreation and Parks Association.

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