Optum, a leading health services company, launched the Virtual Community Center wellness program to give older adults across the country free access to online exercise, nutrition and mental health classes geared for their age group.
Optum’s integrated health care network, OptumCare Arizona, developed the program to help those who normally participate in its health and wellness programs in local community centers. OptumCare Arizona operates four community centers in Arizona to provide health and wellness programs for older adults. The Virtual Community Center wellness program takes the classes that were offered at the OptumCare Arizona community centers and moves them online for national access.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, staying mentally and physically active can help prevent, delay or manage many costly chronic diseases1. The COVID-19 quarantine makes it hard for everyone to stay mentally and physically active, but older adults are at a higher health risk if they do not stay active. Lack of activity in older adults may increase the risk of diabetes, heart disease, depression and stroke — all which can also harm the brain2.
Even as some restrictions are lifted, older adults — especially those with chronic conditions — may still choose to avoid places with groups of people, such as community centers.
“Online programs can help people stay physically and mentally active during the COVID-19 pandemic, and we have developed one specifically to help older adults,” said Ben Brock, associate director of community programs at OptumCare Arizona. “By moving the programs we originally provided in our community centers online we can help this often-underserved population stay healthy.”
The free online videos are available on the Optum YouTube channel. The video series is guided by experts in fitness and health care for older adults. The content includes primarily seated tai chi, qi gong, strength and balance, yoga, and Pilates classes. The videos also include brain and emotional health exercises, art activities and nutrition tips. One video will be posted a day for the next three months.
Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone. With more than 180,000 people worldwide, Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions that help to modernize the health system and improve overall population health. Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). For more information, visit www.optum.com.