Community Information

Wellness Initiative for Senior Education (WISE)

Description of Program
The Wellness Initiative for Senior Education (WISE) program is a wellness and prevention program for older adults, designed to help them celebrate healthy aging, make healthy lifestyle choices and avoid substance abuse. It provides valuable educational services to older adults on topics including nutrition and exercise, medication use, stress management, depression and substance abuse.

Created by the New Jersey Prevention Network (NJPN) and implemented locally by member agencies such as Wellspring, WISE promotes health through education concerning high-risk behaviors in older adults.

The six-lesson curriculum is facilitated by trained prevention specialists once per week over a six-week period. Each lesson is two to three hours in length and includes breakfast or lunch. The content is organized to promote the understanding and value of generational diversity in a format that excites and energizes participants to share what they have learned with family, friends, and peers.

During the lessons, participants are educated without the use of didactic teaching, but rather through interactive exercises that include small group discussion and projects, as this method of learning has been shown to be more effective with adult learners. They are also given tools and resources to take home, increasing the likelihood that what they have learned will be put into practice and shared. Each lesson has demonstrated clear outcomes.

WISE Program participants increased their knowledge regarding how their bodies age, how the aging process affects their ability to metabolize alcohol and medications, and how to recognize the early signs and symptoms of depression.

WISE participants were more likely to improve health behaviors related to lifestyle choices, health care empowerment, and use of prescription and over-the-counter medications.

Seniors who completed the WISE Program reported greater increases in social support over time.

For additional information, please contact:
Helen Varvi, M. Ed., CPS
Deputy Director at
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Or call at 732-254-3344 ext. 137