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Independence Blue Cross Supports 2008 Senior Games

More than 2,000 seniors to compete in sports and games throughout the


PHILADELPHIA, May 12 /PRNewswire/ -- May is Older Americans Month and Independence Blue Cross will once again cosponsor the Senior Games, held at dozens of locations throughout the five-county Philadelphia region. The games are usually a week long, and take place at various times in each county, beginning Monday, May 12 and continuing through the month of June. More than 2,000 seniors, ages 50 and older, are expected to show their commitment to staying physically and mentally fit by participating in the games.

The Senior Games were created in 1985 by the National Senior Games Association to promote a healthy, social, and active lifestyle among older adults. The first national games were held in 1987 in St. Louis, MO, with 2,500 participants. Games have been held every two years since throughout the U.S.

The games feature a wide variety of activities including swimming, running, golf, bowling, tennis, track and field, horseshoes, dance, shuffleboard, chess, scrabble, and more. They are sponsored by the Departments of Recreation and/or Services for the Aging in each county. Winners from counties throughout Pennsylvania will go on to compete in the state games in York, PA, which will be held July 22-27. State winners will be invited to participate in the next national Senior Games in 2009, which will take place in San Francisco, CA, and are expected to draw nearly 13,000 participants.

Independence Blue Cross (IBC) will also open the doors of its Walk-In Service Center on Monday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., for free health screenings geared toward seniors, including diabetic foot checks, and stroke and Alzheimer assessments. Visitors can also learn about SilverSneakers(R), IBC's new award-winning fitness program for eligible Medicare Advantage members. The program is free to members and includes a basic membership at any participating SilverSneakers gym, fitness center or facility that promotes physical activity, along with specialized fitness classes, aerobics and social events.

"The Senior Games are an exciting competitive activity for seniors, and great fun for their families, friends, and the entire community," said IBC's Stephen Fera, vice president of Government Programs. "It's also a positive reminder about the many benefits of maintaining a healthy lifestyle, staying physically and mentally active, eating wisely, and being socially involved."

"We are very pleased that Independence Blue Cross continues to support the Senior Games and show its commitment to helping people of all ages stay physically fit and healthy," said Lynn Spiro, Director of Older Adult Services for the City of Philadelphia Department of Recreation. "In our county, there are activities and games geared toward people with all interests, abilities and skills, and we hope seniors will take advantage of the opportunity to have fun and meet new people."

IBC has cosponsored the Philadelphia county Senior Games since they began in the late 1980s. For more information or to register for the games, seniors can contact their county Department of Recreation or Department of Aging Services. Registration fees, numbers of participants and other details will vary from county to county.

About Independence Blue Cross

Independence Blue Cross is a leading health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania. IBC and its affiliates provide coverage to nearly 3.4 million people. For 70 years, Independence Blue Cross has offered high-quality health care coverage tailored to meet the changing needs of members, employers, and health care professionals. Independence Blue Cross is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

SOURCE Independence Blue Cross
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