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April 20, 2014

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Henderson Senior Center gets grant to assist diabetics

The Henderson Senior Center is developing diabetes-targeted programs for 2009 after a survey revealed that many of its members were not carefully managing the disease.

The city has received a $191,593 grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which will cover the hiring of two dietitians, diabetic cooking classes and recreation center passes. Senior Services Supervisor Sue Bobby said the dietitians and two UNLV student nurse interns will work closely with patrons.

"I'm pretty excited about what we're going to be offering," Bobby said. "I think we're going to see a tremendous increase in people being knowledgeable and being able to reduce their risks."

Those risks were discovered after Nevada State College nursing students surveyed both homebound seniors served by the center as well as those who attended center meals. Bobby said one-third of homebound seniors and one-fourth of seniors who ate at the center had been diagnosed as diabetic. The results surprised Bobby.

"We found that most of them knew very little about reducing their diabetes risk or were doing very little" in caring for their disease, she said.

Now, center officials are hoping to recruit 50 homebound seniors and 150 other seniors with Type 2 diabetes for the free program. The center is also seeking two dietitians specializing in diabetes education or management.

Bobby said much of the program will mirror one developed by the CDC. Dietitians will work one-on-one with patrons, who will document their physical activities, food choices and blood sugar levels. Patrons will be having their blood-glucose levels measured quarterly.

UNLV students will conduct most of the prevention programs, including classes on foot care and meal planning.

They will also take that information via two new laptop computers to homebound seniors, Bobby said.

In addition, the center will be giving out free passes to all of its recreation centers and classes and will try to bring in famous chefs for a cook off.

"Famous chefs will take their signature recipes and turn them into diabetic-friendly recipes," Bobby said.

Although the grant is for just one year, Bobby hopes to continue portions of the program with the next batch of UNLV interns.

Dave Clark can be reached at 990-2677 or [email protected].

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