Contact: Karen Hamel ["Arthritis Connection"] (212) 508-0300 or Bradley Haas [SeniorNet] (415) 352-1210
SEPTEMBER 30, 1996 -- Chicago, IL, and San Francisco, CA -- A new, multi-dimensional program is underway to empower people with arthritis and their families -- especially seniors -- to use the vast resources of cyberspace to take charge of their healthcare. The "Arthritis Connection" will enable people with arthritis to harness the power of the Internet to cope with and manage their arthritis -- America's No. 1 crippling condition. Arthritis Connection is a partnership between SeniorNet, a non-profit organization that teaches adults over the age of 55 to benefit from computer technology, and Searle, a global developer of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare services.
Seniors with arthritis and their friends and family members can participate in the Arthritis Connection program through:
"There's a common misperception that seniors are wary of new technology, computers and the Internet. Quite the opposite is true: Adults aged 55 to 74 are among the nation's fastest growing group of computer users," comments Peter Esty, executive director, SeniorNet. "For seniors with disabilities, the Internet is an extraordinarily powerful tool for accessing information and support. Our partnership with Searle specifically targets seniors with arthritis to motivate and empower them to get involved in their own healthcare."
From Isolation to Empowerment and Camaraderie
For millions of Americans, chronic and often immobilizing disabilities like arthritis lead to feelings of isolation. The Internet, however, opens an invigorating new world.
"By surfing the 'Net, I've met lots of medical professionals and people with arthritis who have helped me better understand how to live positively with arthritis," says Jennifer Finch, a participant in Searle's Patient Partners in Arthritis® program,* who will join other Patient Partners and SeniorNet volunteers to teach seniors with arthritis and their families how to use the Internet to get information on their disease. "Unfortunately, information on the Internet is hard to locate. What's missing is a single site where you can easily find helpful tips on how to manage arthritis, secrets on how to stay positive and innovative ideas to make daily living easier. The 'Arthritis Connection' Web site does all of this."
The Better Living Spa
The Arthritis Connection Web site offers advice from arthritis experts -- healthcare professionals and persons with arthritis -- on daily-living skills. Visitors can drop by different rooms, including:
The Arthritis Connection workshops are being held in 10 major U.S. cities: Dallas; Washington, D.C.; San Jose; Chicago; St. Louis; Tampa; New York; Manchester, CT; Bellevue/Seattle; and Atlanta. SeniorNet Learning Center volunteer instructors and Searle Patient Partners will facilitate the workshops. The curriculum includes:
*Searle Patient Partners in Arthritis ® is a unique group of individuals with arthritis trained to educate medical students and doctors about the patient's perspective, as well as to share what they learn about enhancing their medical care with others who live with the disease. More than 500 educators have been trained since 1992 and they have spoken to more than 40,000 physicians.
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SeniorNet is a non-profit organization founded in 1986 to promote the use of computer technology to enhance the lives of seniors. Based in San Francisco, CA, SeniorNet has more than 90 learning centers in the United States, and to date has trained more than 90,000 seniors how to use computers and to access the Internet.
Searle is a global developer of pharmaceuticals and other healthcare services. Based in Skokie, IL, Searle is a wholly owned subsidiary of Monsanto Company.
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