(Update: added video, comments from Bend Park and Recreation)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — A discounted fitness program for Bend seniors, Silver Sneakers, is ending at the end of the year at Bend Park and Recreation District.
BPRD community relations manager Julie Brown said Thursday that the program will continue at other fitness venues, but the relationship with Bend Park and Recreation is ending.
Over the past year, the price of a pass has increased – one pass now allows you access to both Juniper Swim and Fitness and the Larkspur Community Center. Bend Park and Rec negotiated with Medicare Advantage plans but was unable to come to an agreement with Silver Sneakers provider, Triivity Health.
She said there were about 1,500 visitors a month to Juniper Swim and Fitness Center and Larkspur Community Center.
“We will be ending our relationship with Silver Sneakers, which only accounts for 15% of these total visits on a monthly basis,” Brown said.
Medicare Advantage plans provide access to a gym membership, which is free to the customer.
Brown said Bend Park and Rec are doing everything in their power to help those affected by the change and help them with options to move forward.
“There are other plan options that anyone eligible for Medicare can qualify for.” said Brown.
There is also a Bend Park and Rec scholarship program to help those of limited means.
Brown added, “We are doing everything we can to try to lower the financial barriers to being able to participate.”
I spoke with Bend resident Rob Collins, who is on the program but asked not to be filmed.
Collins said: “I’m very disappointed with the Park and Recreation (district) for discontinuing the program. I know from what I’ve read that they couldn’t come to an agreement with Tivity. I think if something is valuable to residents and citizens, the city should work to provide it and maintain it.