SilverSneakers®, the nation’s leading fitness program for older adults, announced on Tuesday the Tennessee State Alliance of YMCAs has decided to leave the SilverSneakers network and will no longer offer the program at its 44 locations across the state starting Jan. 1, 2020.
SilverSneakers members can still participate in the program at no additional cost at one of more than 350 other participating fitness locations across the state.
Currently, 10,000 active SilverSneakers members use a Tennessee YMCA facility. Over half of the members live in rural areas. Starting in January 2020, the YMCAs will require these seniors to pay out-of-pocket for a YMCA membership if they want to continue to have access to YMCA facilities.
“Our first concern is for our members, and we are working hard to ensure their smooth transition to one of our many other participating locations where they can continue having access to their favorite SilverSneakers programming without paying any additional monthly fees,” said Steve Janicak, president of healthcare business unit at Tivity Health. “We have strong partnerships with more than 1,500 other YMCA locations around the country, so we’re truly disappointed that the Tennessee Ys have decided to stop offering SilverSneakers.”
SilverSneakers is offered through leading Medicare Advantage plans and offers seniors regular exercise, including strength training, aerobics and flexibility, as well as social opportunities.
More than 88% of SilverSneakers members surveyed said that the SilverSneakers program has improved their quality of life, 88% feel healthier overall and 94% say their health is good, very good or excellent.
As a community fitness program, SilverSneakers also promotes social opportunities to alleviate loneliness and social isolation. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 1/3 of people older than age 65 live alone, and 43% of seniors experience loneliness. The health risks of social isolation and loneliness are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes per day.
In addition to providing access to fitness facilities and social connection, SilverSneakers also offers other great ways that members can engage with the SilverSneakers program:
• SilverSneakers GO™, a mobile app that makes it easy for members to stay engaged online, offers full workout programs, location and class finders, and helpful scheduling reminders, as well as downloadable walking programs and on-demand videos. The SilverSneakers GO app and content are free to SilverSneakers members.
• The SilverSneakers Facebook community has nearly 775,000 followers who can access on-demand videos with various formats to support cardiovascular health, strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and cognition. Facebook community membership and content are free to the community of users.
SilverSneakers will work directly with members who currently use a YMCA in Tennessee to help them find a new location near them. Members can go online at www.silversneakers.com/PL-finder or call SilverSneakers toll free at 888-338-0345.