HealthEASE was created in New Jersey to coordinate and expand health promotion and disease prevention services for older adults at the local level, with the goal of promoting, supporting and sustaining older adults in living healthier, more independent lives. HealthEASE targets older adults at all levels of the health spectrum, from those experiencing no health issues to those with multiple chronic diseases and physical limitations.
Through a three-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the HealthEASE model was developed and piloted in two counties: Bergen and Ocean. Following a full year of program development, HealthEASE was implemented and evaluated in the pilot counties for two years. The evaluation demonstrated positive outcomes in the following areas:
- Expanded role of the Area Agency on Aging in health promotion
- Expanded service delivery
- Improved partnerships among provider agencies
- Enhanced information and referral for health promotion
- Health and social engagement benefits for program participants
- Participant commitment to make healthier lifestyle choices
Based on these positive program outcomes, regional training programs were held, first in 2006 and 2007 and periodically since, to expand the physical activity and health education components statewide.