Successful Aging

Every day 10,000 people turn 65. In 2012, 13.7% of the population was 65 and older; by 2040, this number will grow to 21%, putting an enormous strain on our healthcare delivery system. Successful aging is enabling seniors to live their lives on their own terms with access to high-quality health and support services that preserve and protect one’s dignity, quality of life and independence.

The Gary and Mary West Foundation partners with nonprofit community organizations to provide high-quality services to low-income older adults which help them remain independent and healthy for as long as possible. The Foundation is committed to supporting state-of-the-art senior centers that offer high quality nutritious meals and collaborate with other community based organizations to provide a wide array of services essential to the well-being of low-income older adults.

Through a combination of medical research and policy initiatives, collaborations, education and advocacy, the Foundation works with West Health and other nonprofit partners to support and create healthcare delivery models that improve care and access while reducing costs for our fast-growing, diverse population of seniors.



The Challenge Center provides specialized physical therapy for seniors to significantly improve their mobility and independence.

In an environment of hope and possibility, the Challenge Center dramatically transforms the quality of life of persons with severe mobility disorders. Using a licensed staff, physical therapy, assisted fitness, state-of-the-art equipment, financial support and emotional motivation, Challenge Center surpasses every goal by providing the continuum of care often missed by other limited resources. As an example of the life changing impact Challenge Center can have on the seniors it serves, Eleanor Bauerle explains her experience at the Challenge Center. A stroke in 2005 left her completely paralyzed on the left side of her body, but more importantly, she felt devastated that the message she received from therapists was to “get used to it.” Eleanor wanted her life back. Discharged from rehab, walking with a quad-based cane and a family member holding the belt around her waist, Challenge Center therapists knew she had the potential to reach her goals of independence. Eleanor approached physical therapy with an attitude that was both serious and fun, quickly advancing to walk around her home with no help and no cane. Once she was mobile, Challenge Center therapists helped her regain the skills and strength to prepare meals, care for her husband when he was ill, and best of all, venture back into her beloved garden. When asked what these changes have meant to her, Eleanor replies, “Freedom!”

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The Consumer Center for Health Education and Advocacy provides entitlement assistance to low income seniors.

CCHEA health advocates educate and assist older adults to access health insurance such as Medi-Cal and Medicare as well as other assistance programs such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI), food stamps, utility assistance, and In-Home Supportive Services. CCHEA partners with Serving Seniors to provide all of these on-site services free of charge for seniors at the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center. CCHEA also manages the Bud and Esther Fischer Cyber Café which provides seniors with free computer and technology assistance to help them stay independent and connected to the world.

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The Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center provides seniors with high-quality, affordable oral healthcare.

Helping San Diego seniors maintain healthy, productive lives by providing access to high-quality, affordable oral healthcare and education in coordination with overall health and well-being services.

Located within the Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center in downtown San Diego, the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center provides low-income seniors access to high-quality, affordable dental care.  Given that oral health is essential to an individual’s overall health and well-being, we believe that no one should suffer from oral diseases or conditions that can be effectively prevented and treated, especially seniors.

There is growing scientific evidence that untreated oral disease, particularly periodontal disease,  can be associated with chronic conditions such as cerebral vascular disease, coronary artery disease, and diabetes.

To help avoid expensive interventions, the Gary and Mary West Senior Dental Center staff will provide prevention and dental health education, underscoring the importance of early treatment, which can improve the quality of life of seniors and lower our country’s healthcare costs.

Providing access to high-quality oral healthcare at a lower cost, addressing dental problems and promoting preventive dental care will preserve and protect seniors’ dignity, quality of life and independence.

The mission of Meals-on-Wheels Greater San Diego, Inc. is to support the independence and well-being of seniors.

Meals-on-Wheels is committed to reducing the isolation experienced by so many elderly. Meals are delivered to seniors’ homes by volunteers. Frequently the volunteer may be the only person the senior sees all day, providing human contact and a safety net, particularly for those seniors living alone. Meals-on-Wheels provides two meals a day for seniors throughout San Diego County. In 2010, the Gary and Mary West Foundation provided funding for a state of the art commercial kitchen that expanded the organization’s ability to reduce meal cost and deliver a high-quality nutritious meal program to their clients in San Diego. The organization continues to expand their services to meet the needs of the growing senior population as Baby Boomers reach retirement age.

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Merrymakers provides the music that brings back memories and the moments that remind us just how good life can be.

Merrymakers Association is a non-profit organization dedicated to brightening the lives of seniors and elderly through the art of quality music.  Merrymakers provides live, musical performances to over 100 area senior living facilities in Omaha and surrounding areas.  In line with research on music and memory, Merrymakers Association’s professional musical programming helps stimulate memories and combat feelings of depression and anxiety among senior participants.  According to Merrymakers, the purpose of these musical performances is to provide “a time when seniors felt respected, happy, joyous, and free—a time to connect with one another and with the joy that they felt in their youth.”  The Gary and Mary West Foundation is pleased to partner with Merrymakers to achieve these goals.

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The mission of Outlook Nebraska, Inc. is to enhance the quality of life of the blind and visually impaired.

Outlook Nebraska, Inc. (ONI) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the mission of enhancing the quality of life of the blind and visually impaired.  ONI believes that anyone can overcome vision loss and live a meaningful, productive life.  Through ONI’s employment and enrichment programs, they empower individuals with skills and opportunities to meet their goals, regardless of their vision impairment.

For the last 15 years, ONI has been the largest employer of the blind and visually impaired in Nebraska. Today, while ONI continues to provide job opportunities, they also provide consultation and training on the latest adaptive technology for anyone with vision impairment in the ONI Education and Training Center.   ONI trainers empower a person with limited or no vision to run a computer, smart phone or tablet, software and apps, and understand all the technology options available to them so they can excel in their professional and personal lives.

ONI focuses on providing upward mobility for their vision-impaired Associates. In addition, they are assisting seniors with vision loss who are trying to retain their current positions in the business community or seek employment.  Engaging these adults and providing the use of new tools to maintain their quality of life, ONI works directly with employers to assist with valued employees who may be losing their vision.   Partnering with other organizations and businesses, ONI educates the community on the amazing capacities of people who are blind and have low vision.

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Rebuilding Together Omaha operates several programs to serve elderly low-income homeowners.

Many of Rebuilding Together Omaha’s clients are disabled residents who are physically and financially unable to maintain safe and warm living conditions for themselves and their families. One such program is “National Rebuilding Day”, which occurs every year on the last Saturday in April and consists of 30-40 teams with more than 1,000 volunteers performing repairs on homes in Omaha. Additionally, Rebuilding Together Omaha operates a year-round program with trade professionals assisting elderly homeowners with emergency repairs, home modifications and general maintenance. Since its establishment in Omaha in 1996, Rebuilding Together Omaha has helped 1,930 families to improve the condition and safety of their homes.

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The Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center in downtown San Diego is not your typical senior center.

Seniors of all ages and backgrounds find a bright, modern, high-energy, one-stop shop for holistic, wrap around services from nutrition, to wellness, to the Cyber Café – it’s all here.  Two daily meals, 7 days a week, 365 days a year draw thousands of seniors through the doors.  Many seniors stay for case management, housing assistance, time with nursing staff, and wellness classes.  The Gary and Mary West Senior Wellness Center has a Cyber Café for open computer use as well as hands on training with an emphasis in learning about access to medical and health benefits information.  A civic engagement program matches seniors with meaningful volunteer opportunities at the Center and within the community.  The Lifelong Learning Institute offers classes from crafts and cooking to fitness and photography.  “Our vision is to transform the aging experience into something positive and life-fulfilling,” according to Gary West.  The innovative building designed to accommodate congregate meals with space for wrap around programs does exactly that and more.

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Seven Oaks at Notre Dame offers affordable senior living in Omaha, Nebraska.

The Notre Dame Sisters established Notre Dame Housing in 1996 to provide services to the residents of Seven Oaks at Notre Dame, an affordable living community for seniors.  Notre Dame Housing strives to provide resident services which go beyond a safe and affordable living experience.  Services include programs which encourage growth of body, mind, and spirit in an atmosphere of respect, love, and independence.  Past grants from the Gary and Mary West Foundation have funded an Interdisciplinary Coordination Program with departments from Creighton University working with the Notre Dame Housing staff to formulate programs aimed at decreasing depression and improving the quality of life for the SOND residents.

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VAS utilizes a network of trained volunteers to help seniors in Omaha navigate the complicated health insurance landscape.

Many seniors find they lack the ability and confidence to navigate the inherently complex enrollment and application processes required to access most federal, state and local government programs.  VAS’s volunteer workforce not only helps seniors navigate the complex health care system, they also provide low-income senior homeowners with assistance filing for property tax relief through homestead exemption. In an effort to protect the assets of vulnerable seniors and disabled who can no longer manage their own affairs, volunteer court auditors assist the court in monitoring the activities of court-appointed guardians.  Through education and advocacy, VAS’s programs have helped a rapidly expanding and often forgotten population maintain their health and financial security.

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The Gary and Mary West Health Institute enables seniors to successfully age on their own terms.

The Gary and Mary West Health Institute is a nonprofit medical research organization dedicated to pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans.

Our focus is supporting and creating healthcare delivery models that enable seniors to successfully age on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.

Established in 2009 and headquartered in San Diego with an office in Washington, D.C., the West Health Institute is part of West Health, which also includes the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center.

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The Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center enables seniors to successfully age on their own terms.

Solely funded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center is dedicated to pioneering new and smarter technologies, policies and practices to make high-quality healthcare more accessible at a lower cost to all Americans.

Our focus is supporting and creating healthcare delivery models that enable seniors to successfully age on their own terms, preserving and protecting their dignity, quality of life and independence.

Based in Washington D.C., the West Health Policy Center is part of West Health, which is headquartered in San Diego and also includes the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization.

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The Center for Medical Interoperability is driving medical device interoperability.

The Center for Medical Interoperability is accelerating the seamless exchange of information by solving the shared technical challenges facing health systems today. It is a member organization led by executives from some of the country’s premier health systems. A 501(c)(3) established with funding from the Gary and Mary West Foundation, the Center’s mission is to achieve plug-and-play interoperability by unifying healthcare organizations to compel change, building a lab to solve shared technical challenges, and pioneering innovative research and development. The Center is committed to leveraging the market presence and expertise of its members to collaborate with vendors to fundamentally change how medical technologies work together, thereby improving the safety, quality and affordability of healthcare.

A key element of the Center’s strategy is a research and development lab where solutions are collaboratively developed, tested and certified. The Center works with its members to understand clinical, business and technical requirements, and with the healthcare marketplace in a vendor-neutral manner to develop solutions and share performance results to help drive adoption.

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