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SCAN Health Plan Provides 'Senior Sensitivity Training' to City of Los Angeles Department of Aging and Network Service Providers
Date:4/15/2009

LOS ANGELES, April 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past two months, staff members from the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging along with contracted vendors and service providers, have literally been "walking in the shoes of a senior" by participating in a series of hands-on exercises and sensory perception education intended to demonstrate the physical challenges facing the elderly.

"The program is experiential and focused on providing participants' the opportunities to feel, see and hear the common physical and cognitive changes that occur with aging," said Sherry Stanislaw, senior vice president of the nonprofit SCAN Health Plan who sponsored and conducted the programs. "Participants are often surprised by how they react to certain physical limitations that are mimicked during the program, and many have commented on what an eye-opening experience it is."

To mimic the difficulties experienced with arthritis, for example, program participants were asked to don heavy, clumsy gloves and then button their shirts or open medication bottles and handle small pills. Participants also put popcorn in their shoes and walked around to simulate the feeling of painful joints. Others strapped their arm to their side to see how limiting it can be to deal with the effects of a stroke.

Depriving participants of the level of hearing and sight that most people enjoy their entire lives was also a critical part of the program. Ear plugs were used followed by a hearing test to demonstrate how isolating hearing loss can be. Perhaps most difficult for many participants was when they were asked to wear special glasses that severely limited their vision and approximated many of the seeing challenges and disorders that accompany aging.

"The participants are people who work directly with seniors throughout Los Angeles every day, and the experiences they received in this training are invaluable in helping them
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SOURCE SCAN Health Plan
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