New Program to Help Consumers Evaluate Senior Living Facilities

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Woman and aide in senior living facility.
Monkey Business Images /

A new certification program from the American Heart Association aims to help consumers make better-informed choices about senior living facilities.

The Healthy Senior Living certification program, launched in late May, will evaluate independent and assisted living facilities on how well they educate residents and provide opportunities to improve their health in the following categories:

  • Smoking status
  • Physical activity
  • Healthy diet and weight
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sleep
  • Stress management
  • Alcohol consumption
  • Immunizations

The AHA notes that the incidence of most types of heart disease increases with age. Moreover, heart disease not only is the leading cause of death in the U.S. but also is a major cause of chronic disability and loss of independence among older people.

In a press release, Cory W. Woods, assistant chief clinical officer and senior vice president of population health for Rockport Healthcare Services and incoming volunteer chair of the Quality Certification Business Management Committee at the American Heart Association, says:

“The Healthy Senior Living program seeks to work with independent and assisted living facilities to help guide them towards improved health and quality of life for their residents by providing them with the necessary tools and resources to develop a clearly-defined wellness program.”

The AHA says residents can be reassured that facilities earning the certification can “provide services that are supported by American Heart Association science” and that such facilities have been vetted by the AHA based on “professional evaluation criteria designed by cardiac and geriatric experts.”

The AHA has not specified when its evaluations of living facilities will become available to the public, though Woods said the organization looks forward to sharing more information soon.

Recently, residents and families gave top marks to a trio of senior living service providers. To find out more, read “Residents Love These 3 Senior Living Facilities.”

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