Windham Hospital, Natchaug Hospital and Hartford HealthCare to offer resources for local seniors

December 16, 2015 By Shawn Mawhiney

Shawn Mawhiney

WINDHAM — Windham Hospital will begin to offer expanded services for senior citizens in January, when it opens its Connecticut Center for Healthy Aging program. The center helps seniors and their families connect with programs and services to maintain health and wellness as they age.

In partnership with Natchaug Hospital and Hartford HealthCare’s Community Network, the center offers home visits for assessments, and a resource coordinator who helps seniors connect with the healthcare they need, including primary care, nutrition, exercise and behavioral health. Later in 2016, the center will expand to include on-site behavioral health services, nutritional counseling and a specially designed fitness room and programs.

Seniors and their families can access the center by calling toll-free 1.877.424.4641 or visiting Windham Hospital from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday to speak to a resource coordinator. There is no charge for this service.

The opening of the center is the direct result of Windham Hospital’s Community Health Assessment, which identified senior care, mental health and nutrition as healthcare priorities in the Windham region.

“This is an outstanding example of how we work to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said David Whitehead, President of Hartford HealthCare’s East Region, which includes Windham Hospital. “Working together, we identify community needs, create a plan to address those needs and then make real improvements based on the plan.”

Following its opening in January, the center will expand to offer a Geriatric Behavioral Health program, provided by Natchaug Hospital at Windham Hospital. This program will offer a partial hospitalization program, which provides treatment four hours per day, three to five days per week. The second part of the program will provide an intensive outpatient program. This program will provide treatment three hours per day, three to five days per week.

Seniors will be cared for by licensed therapists and psychiatrists, who will focus on recovery from mental health and/or substance abuse issues. Patients will receive a full assessment of their needs, group therapy, medication assessment and management, case management, and individual and family therapy, suited to their individual needs.

“The behavioral health needs of seniors can sometimes be overlooked,” said Patricia Rehmer, senior vice president of Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network, which includes programs at Windham Hospital. "Older adults may become isolated as they age. We know isolation can lead to substance abuse, anxiety and depression in some cases. These are all treatable conditions and should not be considered a part of "normal" aging.” Working together, we can close some of these gaps and improve the health of our community in the process.”

In the winter of 2016 the Center will begin offering fitness classes to seniors. Exercise is also an important part of healthy aging and mental wellbeing. A specialized GoodLife Fitness program will be offered at Windham Hospital to all adults aged 55 or more. GoodLife Fitness is a highly individualized fitness and wellness program, under the close supervision and instruction of an exercise physiologist who helps adults who want to improve or maintain function. Seniors will have scheduled time with these exercise physiologists.

There are three other Connecticut Centers for Healthy Aging within Hartford HealthCare — at MidState Medical Center in Meriden; and two at The Hospital of Central Connecticut, one on the New Britain campus and one on the Bradley campus.

The center is often the starting point for people seeking information about senior care and services in their community. It offers free in-home assessments, which provide the basis for referrals to preventive and restorative resources to help seniors reach and maintain optimal quality of life.

Outreach and educational programming is offered monthly, and seniors are connected to health screenings in the community. Hartford HealthCare affiliate organizations collaborate with the Center for Healthy Aging to form a strong network of services for seniors throughout the region.

“Maintaining independence is crucial for seniors, as it means that they can continue to perform everyday activities,” said Rita Parisi, senior vice president, Hartford HealthCare Community Network. “Our Center for Healthy Aging has a proven track record of doing just that, and we expect similar positive results at Windham Hospital. This is a very exciting opportunity for several Hartford HealthCare partners to collaborate and provide one-stop shopping for the healthcare resources seniors need, and to help them navigate what can be a very complex healthcare landscape.”

The program serves more than 5,000 patients per year. To learn more, visit