Microsoft Public-Private Partnership Helps Seniors Get Healthy and Have Fun

Los Angeles seniors are achieving and maintaining a more active lifestyle, improving their general health, and more safely managing their health data, thanks to a public-private partnership that includes Microsoft, the City of Los Angeles, the Partners in Care Foundation, and St. Barnabas Senior Services. This program, called the “Exergamers Wellness Club,” combines evidence-based health education, exercise, and overall health monitoring. Microsoft Kinect for Xbox 360 serves as the exercise platform, while Microsoft HealthVault helps seniors store and monitor their health information in a trusted place online.

Microsoft at St. Barnabas Senior Center
Seniors in the Exergamers Wellness Club fist pump to a hip-hop workout routine on the Dance Central video game by HarmonixMTV.

Details of the program were unveiled at an event today in Los Angeles, kicking off with a “flashmob” of seniors, ages 60 to 80, erupting into dance at St. Barnabas Senior Center. The senior dancers were joined by others in the crowd, including St. Barnabas CEO Rigo Saborio, as well as a St. Barnabas cafeteria worker and a Microsoft marketing manager.

Microsoft at St. Barnabas Senior Center
Virginia Vasquez rolls a virtual strike while bowling on Kinect Sports by Microsoft as part of the fitness program at St. Barnabas Senior Center in Los Angeles.

Based on the success of this pilot, Microsoft and its partners plan to extend the Wellness Club to other seniors in Los Angeles and elsewhere. As part of this extension plan, the 15 other senior centers within the Los Angeles Department of Aging’s service area will receive a Kinect for Xbox 360 system, a selection of Kinect games, and a one-year subscription to Xbox Live. Microsoft also collaborated with Get Real Consulting to develop a geriatric personal health application for the Los Angeles program. The application was designed to provide an easy way for seniors to upload their personal health data such as blood pressure and glucose readings into HealthVault.

The power of technology to transform lives is evident in this innovative program, and it’s just one of many Microsoft public-private partnerships developed for seniors. Other successful programs include the eSeniors program in Miami, which offers seniors free computer training, and the Virtual Senior Center in New York, which uses technology to eliminate barriers that separate homebound seniors from their communities. Through these efforts, Microsoft and its partners hope to inspire other groups to develop technology-based programs that help to improve seniors’ health, wellness and quality of life.

About the Author

Director, Trustworthy Computing Communications – Accessibility & Aging