Pilot program sees seniors call shots on home assistive improvements

They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Maybe that’s true. But mostly I’ve seen situations where the best intentions go awry because the person trying to help never asked the person they are trying to help what it is they actually needed.  

With that wisdom in mind, a federally funded project put a team of assistants in the hands of seniors to help them determine what changes to their homes would help them best.

Specifically, the program partnered a senior with a team of assistants for five months. The team: an occupational therapist and a registered nurse met with the senior a number of times before bringing in a handyman/woman near the end of the program to do a day’s work making recommended installations and adjustments to the home.

Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders, (CAPABLE) was funded by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation.

The outcomes from the program were impressive. Not only were 75 percent of the participants able to perform more home activities than before, but interestingly, depression symptoms were also reduced.

What I really like about this is the consultative nature of the process and the way it ensures individuals are consulted about specific issues and needs. A one-size fits all solution wouldn’t work because every senior experiences different problems and challenges.  

Having a program that provides focused physical upgrades with psychological benefits as a side benefit is an inspired initiative. I would hope this quickly moves from a trial balloon to established program sooner than later.

Anything that helps my clients age in place is a big plus for them and their quality of life.

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