The American Heart Association has awarded New Community’s Department of Health and Social Services a grant of up to $4,500 for participating in its Healthy Living Blood Pressure Initiative.
The campaign, dubbed by the AHA as Check. Change. Control.TM, also recognized NCC as having the highest participation rate in New Jersey among agencies that joined the national AHA initiative where individuals get their blood pressure checked twice a month for four consecutive months.
Residents from four New Community senior and disabled buildings—Associates, Commons Senior, Gardens Senior and Orange Senior—received blood pressure screenings conducted by staff at NCC’s on-site clinics as well as by visiting nursing students from the Seton Hall University College of Nursing.
The goal of conducting regular blood pressure screenings, the AHA said, is to empower participants to “take care of their health by establishing and sustaining long term healthier behaviors/habits.” The initiative was a collaborative effort between the American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association.
The check-ups also included glucose screenings and NCC Director of Health and Social Services Sharon Pleasant-Jones noted, “That’s also how we were able to get more participants.”
During one of his visits, 69-year-old Robert Gordon said he learned that he needed to control his blood glucose levels—they were high.
“I didn’t even know I had it until they told me,” said Gordon, who lives at NCC Gardens Senior. “I was struck.”
In order to earn the grant, staff from Social Services logged the information online on AHA’s website www.heart360.org. They also helped create email accounts for the seniors in an attempt to streamline the online record-keeping process.
Part of the funds awarded will go towards a Mother’s Day tea party that Social Services plans to host in 2015, according to Pleasant-Jones. Separately, the American Heart Association also generously sponsored several NCC seniors to attend this year’s Harvest Ball Extravaganza, which is Social Service’s biggest annual event.