What does the term “Aging-in-Place” mean?
You may have heard of the term “Aging-in-Place and wondered what it is referring to. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines aging in place as “the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably, regardless of age, income, or ability level”. It is a term used to describe the movement to assist our aging seniors to remain living in the community, with some level of independence, rather than in assisted living facilities or in long term term care/nursing home facilities. It’s a growing field and one that has been shown to increase client satisfaction and reduce health care costs. This includes having services and supports available to facilitate this process. A person’s needs may change over time and they will need to be reassessed frequently.
That’s where we come in.
We are skilled and passionate about keeping our community members safe and in their own homes. Our staff has been working doing just this for over 25 years! We have experience with assessing the strength, balance, and functional mobility of our clients. We have experience assessing home environments for safety hazards and fall risk both inside the house (including bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and more) and outside (including entryways, stairways and pathways). We have contacts and resources to have homes modified to increase safety and reduce fall risk.
Our Aging-in-Place Program in Utica, NY
Our Aging-in-Place program is a comprehensive, multi-disciplined fall prevention program that improves the functional ability of older adults with chronic conditions and functional limitations. It is performed by an interdisciplinary team of a physical therapist (PT), occupational therapist (OT), and a handyworker.
Clients that are enrolled in our program usually have difficulty with at least one activity of daily living (ADL), such as bathing, dressing, toileting, or eating. Our program begins with a home session of 60-90 minutes. We assess the client and also the home environment and make recommendations for changes that will improve the independence of the client and improve the likelihood of remaining at home. If balance deficits are determined, we may recommend home or in clinic physical therapy or for enrollment in our Otago Exercise Program clinically proven to reduce falls in older adult. If clients can carry out the program independently, we still check in from time to advance the program. If Home Modifications are indicated, we make recommendations and link with a qualified handy worker to complete these needed items in a timely manner. We will direct the handy worker to perform limited home repairs, adaptive modifications, or installation of assistive devices to facilitate home safety. These mostly low cost modifications can mean the difference between independent living and nursing home placement.
Why This Program is Cost Effective
Participants who utilize Aging-in-Place and independent living programs commonly have some chronic conditions and functional limitations and utilize a larger portion of healthcare resources compared to those without chronic conditions and functional limitations. These costs are usually due to an increase in the number of hospitalizations and need for long-term care such as nursing homes.
Aging in Place programs have been shown to produce significant savings to healthcare costs through Medicare and Medicaid. The savings have been shown to continue for up to 24 months following the program and are mostly due to reductions in hospitalizations and long-term services and supports. This type of care is expensive and often preventable. Our goal is to prevent the need for hospitalizations and nursing home placement for our Aging – in Place participants.
Bonus! These independent living programs have also been shown to improve depression scores in participants and reduce the number of ADLs considered “difficult” from an average of 4 to 2.
Partnership with The Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties and Blue Cross Blue Shield
Our Community Rehab Project is a 501c3 nonprofit organization committed to assisting local community members to Age-In- Place. We do this through multiple programs. Our Durable Medical Equipment donation and lending program collects gently used equipment from community members who no longer need them. Equipment like canes, walkers, wheelchairs, commodes, shower seats and shower chairs. Then, when another community member needs one, we have them available! We also provide Pro Bono Rehabilitative Services for uninsured and underinsured clients. Recently, we have partnered with the Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties and Excellus Blue Cross Blue Shield to provide our Aging-in-Place program for community members who qualify. Grant funding for the Aging in Place program was provided from these amazing organizations to assist our program and may be available for those clients who qualify.