Aging in Place
Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver (Habitat) and the Colorado Visiting Nurse Association (CVNA) have partnered to launch an aging in place program called CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place – Advancing Better Living for Elders). Habitat and CVNA know that by working together, we’re uniquely positioned to provide a powerful combination of medical consultation and support, as well as critical home repairs to improve low-income homeowners’ comfort and mobility.
CAPABLE’s home-based approach includes:
- Ten, 60- to 90-minute home visits with an occupational therapist and a registered nurse
- Home modifications by the Habitat Metro Denver construction team
All home improvements are customized to the homeowner, including installation of safety bars, improved lighting, floor repairs, and any other custom repairs needed.
Many seniors want to live in their homes for as long as possible, but keeping up with home improvements and maintaining a safe living environment can be challenging with age. CAPABLE provides modest investments in short-term interventions to help older adults remain in their homes longer, improve health outcomes, and decrease medical costs.
The CAPABLE program was founded by Sarah L. Szanton, PhD at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in Baltimore in 2017. Research on early participants demonstrates the following impacts*:
- 79% of participants improved their self-care over the course of five months
- Participants experienced a decrease in depressive symptoms
- CAPABLE cut inpatient costs by 34% compared to a comparison group
*Journal of the American Geriatrics Society
Locally, Habitat and CVNA have already partnered with more than 100 seniors, with plans to partner with 60 more in the next year. In Colorado’s first year the program cut inpatient costs by 34%, and is estimated to save insurance costs and average of $22,000 per client over a two-year period by preventing one or more hospitalizations or emergency room visits. Additionally, of the first 23 clients to finish the program, the following improvements were reported:
- 77% saw an improvement in Activities of Daily Living (ADLs)
- 57% saw an improvement over Depression
- 53% saw an improvement over Pain
- 48% saw an improvement over Fall Risk
To qualify for the CAPABLE program, partners must be:
- At least 65 years old
- Have difficulty performing at least one daily living activity (i.e. bathing) or two instrumental activities (i.e. cooking)
- Live at or below 80% of the area median income
In Colorado, the average age of a CAPABLE partner is 80.2 years, with a fixed income of about $2,000 a month (200% below the current poverty level). Most, if they had to leave the home they own, would be unable to afford a rental home without the assistance of a Housing Choice Voucher, and few would be able to afford assisted living or nursing home care. While many residents live with family, more than half of the CAPABLE partners live alone and are solely responsible for self-care and home maintenance.
If you have questions or would like to inquire about participating in the program, please contact Amanda Goodenow (MS, OTR/L), CAPABLE Program Manager, at capable@VNAColorado.org or at (303) 698-6302.