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Eleven Going on 70: SCAN Health Plan Helps Fifth Graders Understand Aging Through First-Ever Senior Sensitivity Training for Kids
Date:6/10/2008

VAN NUYS, Calif., June 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Fifth graders at Gault Street Elementary School in Van Nuys today experienced firsthand some of the challenges that come with aging. Through an innovative Senior Sensitivity Program sponsored by the not-for-profit SCAN Health Plan, the students participated in a series of hands-on exercises intended to demonstrate the physical challenges facing seniors; and through the magic of special-effects movie make-up, one of their own classmates was aged nearly 60 years in just two hours.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080610/LATU102)

SCAN's groundbreaking sensitivity program is designed to educate a younger generation of Americans about the diverse needs of older adults and to nurture an understanding, appreciation and compassion for the seniors in their lives. The program at Gault Street Elementary is the first of what SCAN hopes will become an educational program for children throughout Southern California.

SCAN facilitator Judy Velarde led the children in a host of creative exercises to mimic the challenges facing seniors. Foot ailments were simulated with popcorn placed in their shoes, hearing loss through distorted recordings, vision changes through special glasses fitted with blurred lenses, and loss of dexterity with special gloves that limit mobility in their hands and fingers.

In addition to the interactive exercises that helped the students physically relate to aging, they also witnessed the visual transformation of one of their classmates. With the help of Hollywood special-effects make-up artist Larry Bones of Bone Yard Effects -- whose film credits include "Dr. Doolittle 2" and "Shallow Hal" -- student Hannah Beloff was the subject of a stunning transformation from an 11-year-old to a 70-year-old senior citizen.

"The transformation was a real eye-opener for the students and a great way
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SOURCE SCAN Health Plan
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