Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Microsoft and Los Angeles Launch Exergamers Wellness Club

Microsoft, the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, Partners in Care Foundation and St. Barnabas Senior Services have launched an innovative program called the Exergamers Wellness Club, which combines technology with exercise, overall health monitoring and evidence-based health education from Partners in Care. The partnership plans to extend its program to a total of 16 senior centers in Los Angeles. Seniors in the program use Kinect for Xbox 360 to make exercise fun and to supplement other fitness activities such as tai chi. They use Microsoft HealthVault to manage and store their personal health information.

<a href='' target='_new' title='Ellen Kampel - Microsoft Next 2012' >Video: Ellen Kampel - Microsoft Next 2012</a>

Seniors ages 60 to 80 erupted into dance during a surprise flash mob at the announcement and were joined by others in the crowd, including St. Barnabas CEO Rigo Saborio, a St. Barnabas cafeteria worker and a Microsoft marketing manager.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, "The Exergamers Wellness Club allows seniors to improve their physical, mental and social well-being by participating in friendly competition, interactive gaming and tracking their health information online. It is just one way we can give back to the people who have given our city so much."

Seniors at St. Barnabas compete in virtual bowling tournaments with contemporaries across the country. They also dance to music ranging from hip hop to disco using Kinect. With Microsoft HealthVault, seniors monitor the benefits of their increased activity and have the option to track their personal health information, such as blood pressure and blood-glucose levels. They also have the option to share their online personal health information with family members or other caregivers they trust and use it with other health and fitness programs. HealthVault contains features that help protect the seniors' personal information.

To facilitate the Los Angeles expansion of the Exergamers Wellness Club, Microsoft plans to donate a Kinect, a selection of games and a one-year Xbox LIVE Gold Membership to each of the other 15 senior centers administered by the Los Angeles Department of Aging.

Microsoft also collaborated with Get Real Consulting to develop a geriatric personal health application, which enables seniors to proactively manage their health information online. The Exergamers Wellness Club kicked off in May 2011 with 22 members. 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.

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