CHA wins grant that will help seniors build strength, improve fitness and maintain independence

May 14, 2019
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Press contacts:
Office of Communications – Chicago Housing Authority
Molly Sullivan: (312) 786-3344;
Matthew Aguilar: (312) 935-2646;

CHICAGO (May 14, 2019): CHA won a grant from the Department of Health and Human Services and the Administration for Community Living this month to implement “Fit & Strong!” programs in agency senior buildings. The program is aimed at decreasing the number of senior falls by increasing their core strength. 

The grant allows CHA to train physical therapy students at University of Illinois-Chicago in Fit & Strong! training methods; afterwards, the senior residents would then become “Lay Leaders” in facilitating the training in their own buildings.

Partners are UIC’s Center for Research on Health and Aging (CRHA) in the Institute for Health Research and Policy; and the College of Applied Sciences.

CRHA is the headquarters for Fit & Strong! and manages its national dissemination.

“Seniors are our most treasured resource, and this grant will help CHA residents stay healthy and safe throughout their golden years,” said CHA CEO Eugene E. Jones Jr. “I am proud of the CHA staff for its hard work in getting this grant and always looking for ways to improve the quality of life for CHA seniors.”

Anne Lehocky, CHA’s Assistant Director for Clinical Services, wrote the grant application and will also facilitate the program.

“This is an exciting partnership between CHA, UIC and CRHA, and one that is unique in that we are pairing an educational institution with public housing for a much-needed fitness program that helps seniors maintain their independence as long as possible,” she said.

The grant calls for residents in 30 buildings to receive two rounds of the Fit & Strong! training over three years – or 10 buildings a year. Lehocky said she hopes to get the training started sometime this summer.

The Illinois Department of Public Health reports that falls among older adults are a leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injury in the United States and Illinois. In 2014, 841 Illinois residents age 65 and older died from falls and over 106,600 injuries from falls were treated at hospitals and emergency departments.

Fit & Strong! is an award-winning, multi-component, evidence-based physical activity program for older adults. The eight-week program targets older adults with osteoarthritis and has demonstrated significant functional and physical activity improvements. It Is offered at 12 City of Chicago Senior Centers.