August 2020: Announcing the Northwest Connexion Challenge

There’s no doubt about it. 2020 has been one challenging year. As we had written about in our newsletter recently, we’ve been thinking a lot about what we can do to serve you better during these unprecedented times. Connexion would like to bring something positive to our customers.

The truth is, we actually started brainstorming a year ago when we first became aware of the issue of how isolation and loneliness was impacting a significant amount of seniors. This was well before COVID-19 and it was at that point that we conducted a few focus groups, which a number of our customers participated in. What we learned was that whether it was impacting them personally or not, every person acknowledged that isolation and loneliness were real and significant issues. Everyone knew a friend or family member whom it was impacting. There were for sure some different opinions on whether any insurance company should try to address it, but we asked ourselves do we just ignore it? We have many thousands of senior customers. Some people said it’s the job of senior centers and retirement communities to handle that, but the counterpoint is there are many people those organizations are clearly not reaching. It’s even harder now with COVID-19.

As we explored the idea of social connectedness impacting health, we also became aware of the Blue Zones methodology. Blue Zones are places identified in the world where people live to age 100 in remarkably high percentages with remarkably low rates of disease compared to other areas. Two of the key commonalities between all of the Blue Zones are 1) having strong social connections and 2) a mostly plant-based diet. When researching the impact of plant-based diets, what stood out to us was that many world-renown physicians were publicly advocating for more people to adopt plant-based nutrition. Doctors were acknowledging that plant-based nutrition could actually be more effective than traditional medications in treating multiple chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, hypertension, and others. While there is no magic prescription pill that works as a preventive measure across those chronic conditions, a plant-based diet actually is protective against all of them.

When you consider that heart disease is the number one killer of Americans, we felt that plant-based nutrition, like senior loneliness, would have broad relevance to our customer base. Longevity is multi-faceted. The idea sparked for us to try and essentially create a kind of Seattle Blue Zone. The more we talked to people, the more we felt like it was the right way to go. People would tell us stories of a parent struggling to connect after a divorce or after a spouse passed away. Others would tell us about a senior parent living on their own with that parent waiting all week for their adult daughter to call them and that being the only time their phone rings. We decided as a company that we would step outside of the box and take a risk to better care for our customers in a way that we truly believe can change the course of their health.

We fully understand that it won’t resonate with everyone, but hope that you can understand why we decided to go in this direction. The rest of our business remains unchanged. It is with great excitement that we are announcing the Northwest Connexion Challenge, which will start September 1st. During the month of September we will encourage the Northwest to eat more plant-based and to connect to more people. There will be online education and activities everyday in the month highlighted by five live seminars with Drs Dean and Ayseha Sherzai, the Directors of Alzheimer’s Prevention at Loma Linda Hospital. Loma Linda, CA happens to be one of the world’s Blue Zones, and the only one in the United States. Dean and Ayesha Sherzai will be sharing their proprietary program that they’ve used with thousands of Alzheimer’s patients. Two of the key components are plant-based nutrition and social connectedness.

What to do next? Go to the webpage today and sign up for the Facebook Social Group. We’ll provide more updates including letting you know about local media coverage that will be happening. The Challenge kicks off on Sept 1 where people should check the Facebook Group daily for instructions.  It is open to anyone of any age, there’s no cost, and we welcome you to share the info. We think it’s a great activity for multi-generational families and friends to do together.

We’d love to hear your opinions on this so please send them along with any questions to

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