Saturday, September 17, 2016

Easy Fixes Tested to Keep Elderly in Their Home

Where you live plays a big role in staying independent as you age. Now researchers say an innovative program that combined home fix-ups and visits from occupational therapists and nurses improved low-income seniors’ ability to care for themselves in their own homes.

Still to be answered is whether that better daily functioning also saves taxpayer dollars – by helping enough older adults with chronic health problems avoid costly hospital or nursing home stays.

“We’re improving people’s lives, improving their abilities,” said Sarah Szanton, a Johns Hopkins University associate nursing professor who leads the experimental program reported Wednesday in the journal Health Affairs.

Surveys show most older adults want to live at home for as long as possible. Yet chronic diseases and their resulting disabilities – problems walking, bathing, dressing, cooking – can make that difficult in homes with steep stairs, doorways too narrow for walkers, and other obstacles.

And seniors who have trouble with those so-called activities of daily living are costly for Medicare and Medicaid, too often ending up in hospitals or nursing homes because they couldn’t care for themselves at home, or had a bad fall while trying.

Szanton’s team aims to help those seniors maintain their independence through CAPABLE – it stands for Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders – a program testing modest home modifications and strategies for daily living.

The fixes sound simple. A double banister let people rest their weight on both sides to get up and down stairs safely. Handymen fixed trip hazards, installed grab bars and lowered shelves so seniors could reach without climbing. Occupational therapists bought assistive devices to help people with tremors feed themselves, and taught the frail how to get in and out of high-sided tubs.

Even simple fixes can be life-changing, like the reaching gadget therapists gave Bertha Brickhouse to help tug on her socks and shoes.

“You just don’t want to ask someone, ‘Can you come to my house and help me put my boots on?”‘ said Brickhouse, 69, of Baltimore, who has diabetes, high blood pressure and cholesterol, and uses a cane for damaged knees. “It was like I was born all over again from their help, the things they did to make my life much easier.”

Full Article, Video, and Source:
Easy Fixes Tested to Keep Elderly in Their Homes


Charlotte said...

I really appreciate this. America should be looking toward the future and what it takes to keep people at home, where they're healthier, happier, and safer.

Mary said...

I appreciate this info as well.