The Healthy Aging Program (HAP) was started in 1995 and its value and success has only grown since that time. The Healthy Aging Program takes place weekly and provides a forum for Senior Afghan Women to socialize with one another while improving their mental and physical health. The program primarily serves low-income, elderly Afghan women that live in the Bay Area. Many of the women that attend the Healthy Aging Program are isolated and have a high need for community resources due to cultural and linguistic barriers. Gathering once a week provides an opportunity for the women to socialize and improve their quality of life while being connected to valuable resources. The AEA has assisted the seniors with low-income housing applications, accessing health care (including free mammograms), applying for Meals on Wheels, and obtaining emergency alert equipment for at-risk seniors.
The Healthy Aging Program provides access to the following services:
- Health Education Workshops
- Exercise Sessions
- Medication Management
- Blood Pressure Screenings
- Nutrition Counseling & Weight Management
- Afternoon Walking Sessions
- Yearly Health Fair Day
- Hot Afghan Lunch
The Health Education Workshops are provided by a nutritionist on a monthly basis to educate the women with the information they need to make healthy choices. Nutrition Counseling is also provided so that the women can make healthier eating choices and manage their weight. Health education is an essential part of the AEA’s program, as many of the women suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. Additionally, the program hosts health professionals from the community to present health topics relevant to the Afghan community.
Exercise Sessions are provided weekly. The sessions are led by one of the AEA’s Health Promoters, who receives continuous training as to the most effective activities for women who suffer from arthritis and other joint pains. Exercise sessions promote the agency’s weight management efforts and provide the women with the consistent exercise they need to maintain and improve their health. Additionally, the AEA has instituted a weekly afternoon walking session for women that participate in the Weight Management Program.
The Healthy Aging Program’s Medication Management is facilitated by a Public Health Nurse who also works with the City of Fremont Human Services Department and collaborates extensively with the AEA. She works alongside with one of the organization’s Health Promoters, and together they meet with the participating women to review the list of medications that they are currently taking. Many of the clients have great difficulty accessing the care and services that they need due to language barriers. One of the consequences is that many of the women, due to difficulty in understanding their doctors, will visit more than one doctor for treatment or assessments. This often leads to clients being over-prescribed which can be very dangerous for their health. The nurse and the health promoter work with the women to ensure that the medications that they are currently taking appropriately address their symptoms and are being prescribed in the correct dosages.