Together Senior Health is building a front door to an integrated digital community and program for people living with dementia and their caregivers. Together’s technology platform engages seniors through movement, mindfulness and community. Our classes will expand to include other services such as gaming, entertainment and education.
Together was founded by our CEO, Cynthia Benjamin, and its programs are based on research done by her longtime friend and collaborator Dr. Deborah Barnes, an epidemiologist and Professor of Neuroscience at UCSF.
MOVING Together online programs are developed specifically for older adults struggling with memory loss and care partners:
• Participate from home on your TV, laptop or computer
• Technology support provided
• Learn physical movements and mindfulness practices to maintain physical and cognitive function
• Connect with and learn from others in new ways
• Participate together with a partner or caregiver
“It not only helps with the physical part, but it helps the way I think.”
(Joe, participant with memory loss)
Together Senior Health combines science and support to make a meaningful difference in the lives of people living with cognitive decline. By reaching people in their homes to address social isolation and increase cognitive and physical function, we are improving quality of life and delaying loss of independence for older adults.
In early clinical trial pilots published in peer-reviewed journal articles, Dr. Barnes' research has documented improvements physical performance and quality of life compared to pharmaceuticals developed for people with Alzheimer's Disease and dementia. Together has the exclusive rights to commercialize the techniques developed by Dr. Barnes and her research team.
Together plans to work with Medicare Advantage Plans, Home Health Agencies and Senior Living Facilities to help these organizations improve the lives of their members and patients with dementia.
“If we are out and he tires, we can sit down and do 10 minutes of this program and he will be able to go for another ½ hour. He can think better, can follow better…it’s been very, very effective for him.” (Mary, caregiver)
Alzheimer’s disease and dementia can be devastating and costly conditions that lead to a decline in one's ability to think and function independently. There is a critical need for new strategies like TOGETHER to help people living with dementia to live as independently as possible and age in place.
MOVING Together classes are based on the PLIÉ and Paired PLIÉ programs (Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise) developed at the University of California, San Francisco and the Veterans Administration. This group-based program builds on elements that continue to work well for people experiencing cognitive decline such as muscle memory, mindful body awareness and social connection
TOGETHER advisors and staff are experts in evidence-based programming, and we will continue to add programs, products and resources over time that provide proven benefits to families challenged by memory loss.
"Whatever the foresight went in to this is wonderful. It's been great but especially now, we don't have to worry about where you've been or where we've been. It's nice to be with our group." (current participant)
Technology is not just for Millennials, it's for all of us. Most older adults have used computers or cellphones and have internet connections in their homes, but are underserved by technology innovators.
Our expertise in human-centered design means keeping the people we serve at the center of all that we do. Our telehealth platform and classes have been designed for a wide variety of participants and we understand the challenges of various consumer devices and broadband access.
Support is also about personal connection. Our classes use live-streaming video in unique ways, enabling people with dementia to participate together with care partners, providing one-on-one coaching for individual attention and facilitating groups of new people together.
We will continue to bring new technology to our community in ways that are fun and allow us all to remain as independent as possible.
MOVING TOGETHER: Livestream Virtual Group Movement Classes for Persons with Dementia and Caregivers: Feasibility and Satisfaction. Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, MPH;1,2 Amanda Lee, MSBH;3Jennifer Ann Lee, GCFP;3 Wolf Mehling, MD;1 Margaret Chesney, PhD;1 Rebecca Sudore, MD;1,2 and Cynthia Benjamin, MBA;3 1University of California, San Francisco; 2San Francisco VA Health Care System; 3Together Senior Health, Inc.,
Casey JJ, Harrison KL, Ventura MI, Mehling W, Barnes DE. (2019). An integrative group movement program for people with dementia and care partners together (Paired PLIÉ): initial process evaluation. Aging Ment Health. 2019 Feb 12:1-7.
Wu E, Barnes DE, Ackerman SL, Lee J, Chesney M, Mehling WE. Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIÉ): qualitative analysis of a clinical trial in older adults with dementia. Aging Ment Health.2014 Jul 14;1-10. PMID: 25022459
Barnes DE, Mehling W, Wu E, Beristianos M, Yaffe K, Skultety K, Chesney MA. Preventing Loss of Independence through Exercise (PLIÉ): A pilot clinical trial in older adults with dementia. PLoS ONE 2015; 10(2): e0113367. doi:10.1371/journal. pone.011336
Cynthia brings expertise as a business strategist and design professional business strategist in healthcare and innovation for underserved populations. Her work ranges from social networks to data analytics to consumer products. She has been a design engineer at IDEO, a Management Consultant with Strategic Decisions Group and IMS Health, Director of Innovation for the Thrive Foundation, and is a Lecturer in Design and Innovation at the d.school at Stanford University.
Ben is an accomplished digital health business development and marketing professional, strategist and growth leader with a record of achieving results through a deep understanding of the healthcare industry and pervasive industry contacts and an ability to develop and execute business development and marketing strategies. He has a proven record of helping companies to enter or significantly grow market share in healthcare.
Together Senior Health has received a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to study the effects of Moving Together in collaboration with scientists at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and San Francisco VA (SFVA).
Dr. Barnes is a Professor of Psychiatry and Epidemiology & Biostatistics at UCSF and a Research Health Science Specialist at SFVA. She co-developed the PLIÉ programs and is leading the UCSF/SFVA research team.
Dr. Mehling is a Professor of Family and Community Medicine at UCSF and is an Integrative Medicine physician and core research faculty at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. He co-developed the PLIÉ programs and is a co-investigator on the UCSF/SFVA research team.
Dr. Chesney is a Professor Emerita-Active in the Department of Medicine at UCSF and core research faculty at the UCSF Osher Center for Integrative Medicine. She co-developed the PLIÉ programs and is a co-investigator on the UCSF/SFVA research team.