Successful pilot experience of the project “Building Cardiovascular Health in the Elderly”
For six weeks, 10 elderly women living in the commune of Independencia held virtual workshops of the project to link with society designed by the Center for New Drugs for Hypertension (CENDHY), Advanced Center for chronic diseases (ACCDiS ) and professionals from the Day Center for the Elderly (CEDIAM). The evaluation of the participants and the organizers is positive and soon new cycles will begin in other municipalities.
The project "Building Cardiovascular Health in the Elderly" arises from the commitment to society of the CENDHY and ACCDIS research centers, both funded by the National Agency for Research and Development (ANID) and constituted in the Faculty of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Chile. Particularly, and as research centers whose scientific work focuses on chronic diseases and associated pharmacology, the target audience of the project of connection with society are the elderly.
Chronic noncommunicable diseases are predominant in the group of people 60 years and older, highlighting in the first places the arterial hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes. In addition, polypharmacy occurs more frequently in older people, defined as the concomitant use of 3 or more medicinal products. At the same time, older people feel uninformed about science, are the least interested in science topics and perceive multiple difficulties in accessing scientific information. The latter is partly due to the considerable digital divide that exists and that has been deepened as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite the complexities, the pilot experience that lasted six consecutive weeks and had 10 participants, was successful and delivered countless learnings. As stated in the project plan, in a next stage, new cycles of cardiovascular health workshops will be held in the elderly in other municipalities, this time in person whenever sanitary conditions allow it and respecting prevention measures.
Dr. Javier Morales, CENDHY director commented that the 10 participants obtained a diploma in gratitude for their collaboration and certification of having completed the six workshops. On the other hand, the professor of the Faculty of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences of the University of Chile thanked the disposition of the mayor of Independencia, Gonzalo Duran, and the Office of the Elderly of the commune.
Regarding the lived experience, participant Gladys González commented: "I found this type of activity very useful., I felt accompanied during all this time. I am very grateful to the organizing team for all the material and patience delivered during the activity. It is good to have professionals who explain you in a simple way, the importance of reducing risk factors and avoiding suffering from other chronic diseases".
Another participant noted that: "I found all the workshops excellent, I find the information was complete, it allowed me to learn and understand in an easy way the diseases that due to age and carelessness we are very prone to suffer. Among the things I liked the most was knowing the symptoms and treatments for each pathology," said Ms.. Soledad Soto.