Gerofit - Program Description - Geriatrics and Extended Care
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Geriatrics and Extended Care


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Gerofit - Program Description

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A Brief History of the Gerofit Program

The Gerofit program is a model Clinical Demonstration Program of exercise and health promotion established at the Durham VA Medical Center in 1987. The primary aim is to improve the health, physical function and well-being of older veterans. The Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center (GRECC) and VA Medical Center in Durham North Carolina co-jointly support the program. Program participants enjoy a group-based program in which each person receives a tailored exercise program based on his or her physical profile and personal goals. Tai Chi, line dancing, balance, core coordination, and strengthening classes are conducted in group settings while other exercise modalities including treadmills, elliptical machines, stair climbers, bicycles and a variety of strengthening machines, round out the opportunities for a personalized exercise program. Veterans are welcome to remain in the program for as long as they wish to support maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Program participants have shown improvements in blood pressure, diabetes management, cardiovascular disease risk factors, weight management, symptom management, depression management, well-being, quality of life, physical function, overall fitness, and longevity.

In 2013 the VA Office of Geriatrics and Extended Care funded an implementation program to establish Gerofit to new partners across the country as a response to the Transformation-21 Initiatives to develop patient-centered alternatives to institutional extended care. Gerofit is now successfully operating in VA Medical Centers in Baltimore MD, Canandaigua and Rochester NY, Greater Los Angeles CA, and Miami FL. In 2014-2015 we will further expand Gerofit to increase program access to Veterans living in rural settings with support from the VA Office of Rural Health. Nine new partners are proposed for this program expansion spanning the country from Key West in Florida to the Samoan Islands.

Dr. Harvey J. Cohen, first director of the Durham VA Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center describes how Gerofit came about. Length 2 minutes.