Kroc Centers a win for older adults

by Bram Roberts

For over a decade, Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Centers have been sharing the love of Jesus Christ through innovative programming. In addition to Christian education and spiritual development, Kroc Centers are uniquely positioned to serve multiple generations through services like aquatics, fitness and the fine arts.

One common thread across all six centers is older adult programming. While our older adult population might not have a dedicated space, all our centers find this population engaged in programming ranging from book clubs to pickleball to low-impact fitness classes specifically designed for them. In addition, our centers provide a sense of community at a time when some older adults may be experiencing loneliness.

A unique way older adult members can gain access to a Kroc Center is through an insurance benefit program such as Silver-Sneakers, Silver & Fit, or Renew Active. In most cases, eligibility is determined by participation in a Medicare health plan, and qualifying individuals can access the center at no charge. In exchange, the Kroc Centers receive a contracted reimbursement amount based on the participant’s usage.

Once an older adult joins, the Kroc Centers work to intentionally engage them through a member onboarding process which provides an overview of health benefits and program opportunities. During onboarding, the user learns about program offerings, membership guidelines, and more about the mission and ministry of The Salvation Army. Ongoing engagement is important not only for the Kroc Centers to make the programs work financially but also for the members to take the next step on their wellness journey.

In January the Quincy, Ill., Kroc Center started a new, free program for their insurance-based members titled “Move 2022.” In short, the program was created to incentivize members in insurance-reimbursed programs by offering rewards for visiting the Kroc more frequently.

Angie Duerr, Quincy Kroc Center membership services manager, said, “It’s a win, win, win not only do our older adults get to take advantage of our amazing facility and programs, they can also earn prizes. In addition, the Kroc Center can get to know their older adult membership base better and look for opportunities to minister.”

As of March 1, the six Central Territory Kroc Centers (Chicago, Ill., Grand Rapids, Mich., Green Bay, Wis., Omaha, Neb., Quincy, Ill., and South Bend, Ind.) have a total of 3,743 members involved in one of these programs—with each one of those people representing another opportunity to share the love of Christ.

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