Older adults in the state of Nevada are resilient. Despite current social distancing orders, older adults want to continue to improve their health and quality of life. The SNAP-Ed Healthy Aging strategy has continued delivering nutrition and physical education to older adults with the support of contractors, collaborators, and counties in Nevada.
Nevada has over 450,000 older adults (ADSD, 2016). In the wake of the pandemic, older adults were impacted the most as they often live with chronic disease and co-morbidities. Community centers, congregate meal sites, and health offices were closed. Older adults are affected physically and mentally by social distancing and have limited access to resources.
The Extension SNAP-Ed Healthy Aging (HA) team mobilized in response to the pandemic and quickly looked for ways to continue the education efforts to maintain a sense of normalcy. The team created and expanded the Nevada Healthy Aging Alliance (NHAA). The NHAA works toward the common goal of promoting physical activity and nutrition with the support of policy, systems, and environmental changes for older adults across the state. The counties, contracts, and collaborators are broad and represent a diverse group of systems and organizations that support older adults.
The SNAP-Ed Healthy Aging team made calls to hundreds of homebound older adults to check in, assess their needs, and offer opportunities to participate in virtual classes. These classes helped to continue providing physical activity and nutrition education. The virtual format was also used as a means to socialize while adhering to the governor’s social distancing guidelines. Those that were able to participate in the virtual classes submitted testimonials thanking the Healthy Aging team for keeping programs ongoing. Our virtual classes included a group of 30 older adults who consistently tuned in bi-weekly for six months. In addition to direct education classes we created an alternative to community gardens. As a health promotion activity, 461 grow your own herb garden kits were distributed to older adults across the state.
“I have enjoyed the exercise sessions as it keeps me on track with moving my body more. I miss visiting our senior center and seeing everyone so it’s so nice to see the smiling faces on ZOOM! The instructors are positive and helpful. “– Mary
“I enjoy the senior program sponsored by Extension. In many respects it keeps me sane. I have a compromised immune system and have stayed home during the Pandemic. This program gives me an opportunity not only to connect with people, but I’m learning “stuff”. The first thing I learned was how to use Zoom. The facilitators are awesome as well as the other people in the class. We’ve only met virtually but I feel a connection with them. Also, I‘m getting closer to knowing everyone’s voice.” - Carol
Prior to the pandemic, NHAA developed and implemented a Physical Activity and Nutrition Environmental Scan (PAN Scan). The Scan specifically addresses the SNAP-Ed framework indicators to better understand what PSE strategies to develop and implement within a community setting. The NHAA re-cently expanded to include the newly awarded FY21-22 Healthy Aging SNAP-Ed recipients. The HA team is excited to cultivate new partnerships with agencies that support older adults across Nevada.
SNAP-ED EVALUATION FRAMEWORK INDICATORS
MT2: Food Resource Management
MT3: Physical Activity and Reduced Sedentary Behavior
For more information:
University of Nevada, Reno Extension – Healthy Aging