LAKE VILLAGE - Every day, the number of seniors grows as individuals live longer and more Baby Boomers reach 65 years and above. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 10,000 Baby Boomers turn 65 every day, and by 2030, all baby Boomers will have reached this milestone.
In response to the significant increase in the aging population, ARHP is launching new and expanded efforts to strategically support the health and wellness of seniors across South Arkansas (predominantly Delta). Through new HRSA Office of Rural Health Policy Delta States federal funding, the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership (ARHP) recently launched Flourish & Thrive, a program to advance senior health in the South Arkansas Delta. The program is designed to specifically address the following common health and wellness barriers for seniors aged 60 and above with diabetes and/or cardiovascular disease: access to locally available healthcare, prescription medicine cost barriers, lack of health insurance, transportation barriers, food inequality, access to exercise opportunities, and quality diabetes self-management education.
“For many of our senior residents, the slippery slope to chronic disease was not an obvious or deliberate choice. Poor access to care, lack of insurance, the high cost of prescription medications, lack of healthy food options, and exercise opportunities exacerbate and contribute to these medical conditions. The project will provide a more comprehensive approach to senior health and wellness by providing new opportunities for behavior change, community engagement, and social support. All these support services combined will help to meet patients where they are and assist them on their journey to health improvement,” explained Mellie Boagni Bridewell, Arkansas Rural Health Partnership (ARHP) President & CEO.
The grant project includes working with ARHP clinics and hospitals to support patients with insurance enrollment, housing assistance, and patient navigation through staffed Community Health Workers, providing patient remote monitoring devices and support for participating patients, providing healthy, prepared meals that are delivered to patient homes, diabetes education classes for patients and their caregivers, and virtual exercise classes that can be done from home or in a group setting.
Arkansas Rural Health Partnership will work collaboratively with the Arkansas Foundation for Medical Care, Arkansas Minority Commission, and UAMS Centers on Aging utilizing their expertise and assistance throughout the project.
For more information about the innovative program, visit arruralhealth.org and select Seniors: Flourish & Thrive under Program Initiatives on the home page.
Located in the heart of the Arkansas Delta, the Arkansas Rural Health Partnership has served the region since 2008 and has been the designated Delta States grantee for the proposed service area since 2013 (and a subgrantee from FY2009-FY2012). The non-profit organization is recognized throughout the region, state, and nation for innovative programs and services that improve the health & wellness of rural residents, while strengthening healthcare infrastructure. ARHP members span the service area and drive local efforts (16 rural hospitals, 2 FQHCs, 3 Arkansas medical schools, and 100+ clinics).