• Minnesota

    Mayo Clinic Creates Healthy Aging and Independent Living Lab

ROCHESTER, Minn. — Mayo Clinic is pleased to announce that General Mills is the newest consortium member of the Healthy Aging and Independent Living (HAIL) Lab.

Two seniors jogging

The HAIL Lab, established in September 2011, is a "living lab" located in Charter House, a continuing care retirement community in Rochester, Minn. A collaboration among the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation (CFI), Mayo Clinic's Robert and Arlene Kogod Center on Aging and Charter House, the HAIL Lab is a place where research and experiments take place supporting 'aging in place' — helping seniors remain at home, healthy and independent. The HAIL Lab is a place for focus groups, as well as for designing, prototyping and piloting new services and technologies with voluntary participation from Charter House residents and other community agencies.

The HAIL initiative is supported by a consortium of organizations that now include Mayo Clinic, Best Buy, Good Samaritan and General Mills, which provide strategy, expertise and financial support.

Health is a major focus for General Mills as it strives to provide nutritious, great-tasting foods that, when combined with exercise and activity, can help people live longer, healthier lives. Since 2005, General Mills has improved the health profile of 64 percent of its U.S. Retail sales volume. The company tracks and quantifies all health profile improvements using a proprietary "Health Metric," created by the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition, to drive and measure the company's progress on nutrition and health improvements.

"General Mills is committed to being a health and nutrition leader and innovator," says Susan Crockett, Ph.D., R.D., FADA leader of the General Mills Bell Institute of Health and Nutrition. "Our steady progress of improving the health profile of our products reinforces our commitment to delivering on our consumers' desire for healthier product options."

With a focus on the boomer and older consumer population, General Mills is exploring special dietary needs and the resulting health benefits of nutrition.

"The aging population is an important consumer segment for General Mills because they tend to be dealing with specific health conditions and are more focused on managing their health through nutrition rather than medications," says John Haugen, vice president of the Health and Wellness Center of Excellence at General Mills. "General Mills is in a great position to address the nutrition needs of boomers and aging consumers. Learning more about these needs through the HAIL Lab is a tremendous opportunity for our company."

General Mills joins founding consortium member Best Buy and another member, Good Samaritan, making the HAIL Lab Consortium one with Midwest corporate powerhouses focused on health needs for the growing aging population. Best Buy, headquartered in Richfield, Minn., has been exploring the growing potential for wireless-enabled, health-related devices, and its participation in the consortium is a natural extension of other investments the company has made in the health and wellness technologies arena. Good Samaritan is the nation's largest not-for-profit provider of senior care and services. Good Sam, headquartered in Sioux Falls, S.D., serves more than 27,000 people in 240 locations nationwide. Services range from traditional skilled nursing care, senior living apartments, home health, assisted living, hospice care, inpatient and outpatient therapy and specialized care for people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias.

Corporations interested in joining the consortium can contact Michael Matly, M.D., director of Business Development for the Mayo Clinic Center for Innovation, via email or by calling 507-293-1656.

Media Contact: Fran Dickson, 507-284-5005 (days), newsbureau@mayo.edu