Market Overview

SCAN Health Plan Partners with Self-Help for the Elderly to Deliver Trading Ages Program


SCAN Health Plan's Trading Ages senior sensitivity program was, for the first time, translated and delivered in Cantonese recently in a special presentation for the Chinese-speaking staff at Self-Help for the Elderly (SHE) in San Francisco. In two separate sessions – one in English – more than 100 SHE staff members had the opportunity to experience the training, which simulates the physical and emotional challenges that come with aging.

Trading Ages, an interactive workshop that was developed by the not-for-profit SCAN Health Plan, allows participants to experience a series of age‐related conditions such as hearing loss, vision changes and loss of dexterity. The training helps participants understand how challenges associated with aging can affect everyday activities, behaviors and actions. This awareness translates to increased compassion, patience and ultimately better service.

“By actually experiencing what a senior who is hearing impaired, or blind, or with mobility limitations lives with on a daily basis, we become much more sensitive to their needs,” said Anni Chung, president and CEO at Self-Help for the Elderly. “This is a great teaching tool for employees who work with the aging population, and it's fun. Our staff enjoyed the exercise, and will be able to apply what they learned to their day-to-day work with seniors.”

The Trading Ages program was initially created as a way for SCAN employees to better understand the needs and mindset of its health plan members. While the program continues to be mandatory for all SCAN employees, in recent years SCAN has taken it “on the road” and has been making it available, free of charge, to physician groups, community agencies, school children and other groups interested in enhancing their sensitivity in interacting with older adults.

“The SHE staff members who participated in the training work directly with older adults in the San Francisco community through their daily work,” said Lena Perelman, director of community outreach at SCAN Health Plan. “This is the most rewarding type of training, when you know you're going to make an impact on people who interact with seniors on a daily basis.”

San Francisco has one of the highest concentrations of seniors living independently. The city's aging population also includes a high percentage of non-English speaking residents.

“The desire to remain independent and the physical challenges people face as they age are universal,” added Perelman. “Translating and delivering this training in Cantonese in partnership with SHE allowed us to impact a significant constituency in this community.”

Self-Help for the Elderly is a community-based organization committed to promoting the independence, dignity and self-worth of seniors. Each year the agency serves over 35,000 seniors in San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara and Alameda counties by providing a comprehensive range of multicultural and multilingual services to empower seniors to help themselves and others.

For more than 30 years, SCAN Health Plan has been focusing on the unique needs of seniors. The company currently has nearly 130,000 members in California and Arizona. Further information may be obtained at

SCAN Health Plan
Michelle Hokr
818-597-8453, x-5

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