AARP and the YMCA of the USA have announced a pilot collaboration to combat social isolation and improve health and fitness levels in older adults.
The YMCA of Western North Carolina is one of 10 YMCAs around the country AARP selected to participate in the project.
In each local market, teams of AARP and YMCA staff and volunteers will engage residents and members in events and activities intended to help reduce social isolation, improve physical health, encourage wellness, and stimulate learning, among other initiatives.
“Partnering with the Y on community-focused programming that helps people maintain and improve their health and overall well-being as they age is a natural fit for AARP, and we’re very happy to be a part of it,” AARP CEO Jo Ann Jenkins said.
“AARP shares our commitment to strengthening communities, and this partnership will support the Y’s efforts to help people of all ages live their healthiest lives,” said Kevin Washington, President and CEO, YMCA of the USA. “We’re excited to get started and enhance our existing portfolio of programs and services for older adults and their families.”
The organizations are planning to announce their new Asheville initiative in September. It will challenge participants to improve their physical and mental health as well as their community.
“Older adults in Western North Carolina have a number of needs when it comes to healthy aging. This initiative will deliver practical tools and resources to optimize health and social opportunities at all ages,” said Rebecca Chaplin, associate state director of outreach and advocacy for AARP North Carolina, Mountain Region.
“As part of our commitment to serving all, we are committed to addressing the needs of a diverse aging population by leveraging the Y’s strength in providing services at the intersection of health and social needs,” added Diane Saccone, director of healthy aging initiatives at the YMCA of WNC. “This health-meets-social approach enables the Y to serve community members along a wide spectrum of life stages and out of this challenge will produce programs and services that result in improved quality of life and reduced social isolation within this population.”
AARP and Y-USA will explore additional opportunities to help people live healthier, more engaged lives based on these first 10 programs. The other cities participating in the pilot project are Bismarck, N.D.; Burlington, Vt.; Colorado Springs, Colo.; Houston, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; Long Island, N.Y.; Rapid City, S.D.; Sussex County, Del.; and Treasure Valley, Idaho.