About Project Enhance
Developed by Senior Services (Seattle, WA) in partnership with the University of Washington and Group Health Cooperative in the mid-1990’s, Project Enhance offers state-of-the-art, community health promotion programs designed especially for older adults. This innovative project offers two tested and nationally recognized evidence-based programs:
- EnhanceFitness (EF), a low-cost, adaptable exercise program offering levels that are challenging for active older adults and levels that are safe for older adults who are less fit and/or frail.
- EnhanceWellness (EW) is a motivational behavior change intervention specifically targeted to those with chronic conditions. EW encourages older adults to take on health challenges and maintain control of their lives through a participant-centered approach.
Both programs have been implemented successfully and sustainably in facilities around the country, including senior centers, YMCAs, and retirement communities. While organizations can adopt them individually, Project Enhance programs reinforce one another in a comprehensive health promotion package. They are easy to implement, attract new people into facilities, and energize those who are already there. Most importantly, they are proven to get measurable improvements in the health and well-being of older adults.
Project Enhance staff have gained invaluable experience in disseminating evidence-based programs. We have strong relationships with researchers, health care providers, and community-based service providers that have given us the ability to gather good evidence to support the effectiveness of Project Enhance in various settings and populations. We use the strength of our partnerships to achieve continuous quality improvement and program development and innovation.
Examples of Project Enhance innovation include:
- Developing quality assurance and program monitoring tools and activities
- Developing data collection and reporting systems
- Creating training manuals (for class instructors, trainers, and administrators) and guides for EnhanceFitness participants to do safe exercises at home
- Continuing to be involved in research studies to test program effectiveness in diverse settings and with diverse populations
- Promoting EnhanceFitness as a benefit for Medicare-eligible members of health maintenance organizations (Group Health Cooperative in Washington and UCare in Minnesota)
- Pioneering a national network of aging professionals committed to the field of evidence-based healthy aging
The outstanding success of Project Enhance is its positive participant outcomes. Studies have shown a 72% decrease in hospital days, 35% decrease in use of psychoactive drugs and 11% decrease in depressive symptoms for EnhanceWellness participants. EnhanceFitness participants have shown a 52% improvement in depressive symptoms and 35% improvement in physical functioning.
Project Enhance started as a small project in 1997 at four senior centers. With expansion facilitated by our turnkey package, which provides all the tools needed for successful implementation, we are now in hundreds of locations all over the United States. Our programs are now in a wide variety of facilities, including retirement communities, day health programs, meal sites, primary care clinics, fitness clubs, and ethnic community centers. Program participation has increased from just 80 older adults to over 25,000.
The project is continually evaluated for effectiveness and reach. There have been several formal evaluations of both EnhanceFitness and EnhanceWellness conducted by the University of Washington Health Promotion Research Center
, a CDC- funded center and lead center for the national Healthy Aging Research Network. As relevant new research emerges, appropriate revisions are made to program protocols. Review the citations of published studies and articles here.
Project Enhance is proud of the awards our programs and our affiliates have received from organizations across the U.S.:
- EnhanceFitness is featured on the Hallmark Channel Channel, WTS Baby Boomers, on the following dates: October 21, 2010.
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s 2005 Innovation in Prevention Award, Non-Profit Category
- U.S. Administration on Aging, You Can! Program Champion, 2005
- Washington Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity, Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Promotion of Physical Activity, Community Based Program, 2005
- National Council on Aging, One of Ten Exemplary Physical Activity Programs for Older Adults in USA, 2003
- National Council on Aging, National Institute of Senior Centers’ 1999 Research Award, presented to Northshore Senior Center (SWP Pilot Site)
Our affiliates have also won awards: