Small Adjustments Can Help Seniors Stay in Their Homes
White Plains, NY (Law Firm Newswire) January 6, 2014 - Seniors may be able to stay in their homes longer with the help of small changes.
Older people often need assistance with the tasks of daily living, but they also usually wish to live as independently as possible. While an assisted living facility or skilled nursing home may be necessary for some seniors, it is possible for many others to stay in their own homes if a few simple adjustments are made. The changes themselves may not be expensive, and they can end up saving a lot of money for the families of older Americans (and for the nation) by reducing the cost of their long-term care.
In the Baltimore area, a research project is underway to see how much of a difference just $4,000 can make when spent carefully on a few small but crucial adjustments to the homes and daily habits of seniors. The project is called CAPABLE, or Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders. The project sends nurses, occupational therapists and home repair workers into the homes of low-income seniors to see what can be done to preserve their independence with a fairly small investment. The experts in the Baltimore program have found that little things make a big difference when it comes to independent living.
Nurses visited the seniors' homes four times over four months to assess daily routines and suggest changes. One common change: seniors should take daily medications at staggered times throughout the day (rather than all at once) to avoid feeling fatigued or disoriented.
Occupational therapists also visited to identify household risks and help seniors practice basic movements and exercises to maintain mobility, focusing on crucial activities like preparing food and bathing. Home maintenance workers came in to make small improvements, including raising toilet seats and installing ramps. The project also supplied seniors with new, low-cost utensils, such as weighted cups, that are easier for people with Parkinson's disease to handle.
The project has shown that a lot can be accomplished with a modest investment in seniors' independence. The experts said that the key strategy was to focus on the particular needs of and practical solutions for the individual, rather than arriving with a predetermined checklist.
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Maria M. Brill
Littman Krooks LLP
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