Microsoft partners with other groups to keep seniors healthy

Microsoft officials announced Wednesday that the company will partner with the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, Partners in Care Foundation and St. Barnabas Senior Services to enhance the health of Los Angeles' seniors.

The partnership plans to extend its program to a total of 16 senior centers in Los Angeles, say company officials.

The program, called the Exergamers Wellness Club, combines technology with exercise, overall health monitoring and evidence-based health education from Partners in Care, according to a Microsoft press release. Seniors in the program use Kinect for Xbox 360 to make exercise fun and to supplement other fitness activities such as tai-chi, the announcement said.

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According to Microsoft, participating seniors will also use Microsoft HealthVault to manage and store their personal health information. Participants in the program already report improved fitness and well-being, which has motivated Microsoft and its partners to expand the program to all senior centers in the Los Angeles Department of Aging service area.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said the program "is just one way we can give back to the people who have given our city so much."

According to St. Barnabas CEO Rigo Saborio, some of the Exergamers Wellness Club activities include, flash mobs where seniors erupt into dancing and virtual bowling tournaments. Seniors monitor the health benefits of their activities – including improved blood pressure and blood glucose levels-- with Microsoft Healthvault.

[See also: Microsoft announces 'Direct' way to move from Google Health to HealthVault.]

June Simmons, president and CEO of Partners in Care, said the addition of technology to the program was a critical enhancement to the health screenings and health-education programs that her organization delivers to Los Angeles seniors.

The Exergamers Wellness Club kicked off in May 2011 with 22 members, Microsoft officials said. It later expanded and now serves 34 seniors between the ages of 64 and 94. Continued participation is evidence of the club's value to its members, they added.

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