November 2003

Resource Center Announces Availability Of "California Blueprint for Action on Home Modification"
Report

The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification is pleased to announce the availability of the report "California Blueprint for Action on Home Modification." This report was officially released at the 5th Annual Morton Kesten Summit that took place at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center on Monday, November 10, 2003. This Blueprint is based on the work of last year's Summit, and is divided into five main sections: consumer awareness and acceptance, service delivery, financing, regulations and standards, and systems change. (Click here for the Executive Summary.)

The Morton Kesten Summit is held annually to guide public policymakers, program staff, practitioners, and consumers in making home modifications and supportive home environments more available throughout the state. This year's Summit discussed the status, challenges, and innovations in home modification in California, and required participants to commit themselves to a project in which they were willing to invest some time and energy.

The 2003 Annual Morton Kesten Summit was also an event to celebrate the first National Aging in Place Week, November 9-15. The week was initiated by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association with the assistance of an Advisory Council that includes the Resource Center, the Center for Universal Design at the North Carolina State University, and the IDEA Center of the State University of New York at Buffalo. The purpose of Aging in Place Week is to bring attention to the role that home modifications play in independent living for older persons by making homes safer, more comfortable, and supportive. It is intended to educate older persons and their relatives, concerned professionals, and policymakers about home modification measures that promote aging in place.

To order a copy of the entire report, please make out a check/money order for the amount of $10.00 (ten dollars) to the Andrus Gerontology Center, and mail it to the address below. Shipping and handling is included.

National Resource Center on Supportive Housing/Home Modification
University of Southern California
Andrus Gerontology Center
3715 McClintock Ave., #228
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0191

For more information, call (213)740-1364 or email natrescr@usc.edu

CARES and National Family Caregivers Month!

Individuals who care for older persons face significant challenges. Many caregivers either don't know that help is available or don't know where it can be found. National Family Caregivers Month provides organizations the opportunity to increase public awareness about the availability of caregiver support services and to alert caregivers about how to find much-needed services.

"Caregiver Adaptations to Reduce Environmental Stress" or CARES, a Center project funded by the Administration on Aging, has taken several steps to promote the use home modifications and assistive devices to help reduce burden and physical strain for caregivers. Although often overlooked in discussions of caregiver support, the home environment is a critical component that significantly affects the capacities of caregivers and service agencies to provide assistance. Caregiving often requires physical demands that strain caregivers, jeopardizing their own health, strength, and energy level. Home modifications (e.g., portable ramps, roll-in showers, widened doorways) and assistive devices (e.g., raised toilet seats, reachers, walkers) can provide immediate relief and enhance the ability of caregivers to deliver care with less stress.

The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification has an online Directory of Home Modification Resources and a section specifically designed for caregivers titled "Home Modification for Caregivers" at: www.homemods.org

The U.S. Administration on Aging, which administers the National Family Caregiver Support Program, hosts a Resource Room for caregivers and professionals on their website at: www.aoa.gov/prof/aoaprog/caregiver/caregiver.asp

For more information: Contact Chris Lee at (213) 740-1364 or cares@usc.edu.


Press Release for 2003 Morton Kesten Summit
In an effort to guide public policymakers, program staff, practitioners, and consumers in making home modifications and supportive home environments more available throughout the state, the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification is proud to host the 5th Annual Morton Kesten Summit: "A California Call to Action on Home Modification" on November 10, 2003. The Summit will take place at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center in Los Angeles.

The focus of this one day working conference is to report on activities in home modification, universal design, and visitability in the state of California. The report "A California Blueprint for Action on Home Modification," a product of the last Summit, will form the basis for this year's conference. The report is divided into the following areas: service delivery, funding, regulations and standards, consumer awareness/acceptance, and systems change. This year's summit participants will discuss the status, challenges, and innovations of home modification in California, and work to develop strategies to address supportive home environments.

The 5th Annual Morton Kesten Summit is a state-level event to celebrate the first National Aging in Place Week, November 9-15. The week has been initiated by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association with the assistance of an Advisory Council that includes the Resource Center, the Center for Universal Design at the North Carolina State University, and the IDEA Center of the State University of New York at Buffalo. The purpose of Aging in Place Week is to bring attention to the role that home modifications play in independent living for older persons by making homes safer, more comfortable, and supportive. It is intended to educate older persons and their relatives, concerned professionals, and policy makers about home modification measures that promote aging in place.

Home modifications and supportive home environments are key elements in promoting independence, assisting caregivers, making tasks easier, preventing injuries and delaying institutionalization. Unfortunately, there is a large unmet need for features such as ramps, easy to use faucets, bathrooms and kitchens with easy accessibility, handrails or grab bars, and extra wide doorways in existing and new housing.

The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification, headquartered at the University of Southern California Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center, is funded by The Archstone Foundation and The California Endowment.

The Resource Center's mission is to make supportive housing and home modification a more integral component of successful aging, long-term care, preventive health, and the development of elder-friendly communities. The Resource Center offers a vision for the future as well as practical strategies and materials for policymakers, practitioners, consumers, manufacturers, suppliers, and researchers.


October 2003

The 5th Annual Morton Kesten Summit: November 10, 2003
Our Center is proud to once again organize and host the 5th Annual Morton Kesten Summit at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center in Los Angeles, California. The 2003 Summit will be during National Aging in Place Week, November 9-15. This year's summit continues to focus on the role of home modification in promoting independent living for the elderly and persons with disabilities.

The document "A California Blueprint for Action on Home Modification", a product of the last Summit, will form the basis for this year's conference. The coming 5th Annual Morton Kesten Summit will report on activities in home modification and universal design in the state of California based on the following areas: service delivery, funding, regulations and standards, and consumer awareness/acceptance.

There will also be presentations on innovative endeavors in home modification activity across the state. Participants will then focus on some of the gaps that still exist in advancing the home modification agenda.

Continental breakfast and light lunch will also be provided. Registration is free and is limited to the first 100 people.
The deadline for registration is October 27, 2003
. For more information or to register, call 213-740-1364 or email homemods@usc.edu.
.


September 2003

National "Aging in Place" Week to take place November 9-15
The Resource Center is pleased to participate in organizing the first National Aging in Place Week. Its purpose is to bring attention to the role that home modifications play in independent living for older persons by making homes safer, more comfortable, and supportive. It is intended to educate older persons and their relatives, concerned professionals, and policy makers about home modification measures that promote aging in place. The week has been initiated by the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association with the assistance of an Advisory Council including the Resource Center, the Center for Universal Design at the North Carolina State University, and the IDEA Center of the State University of New York at Buffalo.

In southern California, we are considering the following events: organized tours of homes that have successfully undergone home modifications; educational forums to inform the public about the benefits of home modifications; and, professional workshops for practitioners from various professions to discuss home modifications and other issues related to aging in place. If you would like to participate in the southern California events, please contact Maria Henke at (213) 740-1364 or email mhenke@usc.edu.

Click here to visit the National Advisory Council on Aging In Place website, www.seniorsafehome.com for information on design ideas, useful products and how to find them, and professionals who can help plan and implement home modifications.


August 2003

Center Part of National Advisory Council on Aging In Place
The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing, along with other interested organizations, has partnered with the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (NRMLA) to form the Advisory Council on Aging In Place. The primary focus of the Council is to educate and create awareness among senior homeowners and their relatives, policymakers and other interested parties about home modification measures that will enable older adults to remain living safely and independently in their own home as they continue to age.

The Council has a full schedule of events planned for the remainder of the year, which includes the first Aging in Place Week, scheduled for November 9-15. Aging in Place Week will feature national and local events that will increase awareness about home modifications and products that can assist seniors to remain living at home, including information regarding new options for financing retirement needs and reverse mortgages. In addition, the Council will launch its new website, www.seniorsafeathome.com that will serve as a portal for consumer education about aging in place.


Resource Center Among "Best Sites" on AARP's New Internet Section
The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications has been listed under AARP's new section titled "Internet Resources on Aging" as one of the best sites for people age 50+.
The web sites in AARP's Internet Resources on Aging are chosen for their usefulness for older adults and their families, as well as for researchers, students, and professionals in the field of aging.

To view this new section, visit www.aarp.org and click on "what's new". The Center is listed under "Home Modification and Universal Design".


June 2003

CARES Project: Focus Group Findings
Although often overlooked in discussions of caregiver support, the home environment is a critical component that significantly affects the capacities of caregivers and service agencies to provide assistance. "Caregiver Adaptations to Reduce Environmental Stress" or CARES, a Center project funded by the Administration on Aging, has taken several steps to: 1) assess caregiver awareness and need for home modifications; 2) ascertain the environmental coping strategies used by caregivers in their own homes or in the homes of care recipients; and 3) evaluate the extent to which caregivers use home modifications.
CARES convened four focus groups of caregivers.

Home modifications (e.g., portable ramps for access, roll-in showers to assist with bathing, widened doorways for inside transport) and assistive devices (e.g., raised toilet seats to assist with toilet transferring, hand held showers for bathing) help reduce physical burden and strain. Focus group findings include:
1. Lifting, transferring, and bathing are the top three physical burdens faced by caregivers;
2. Most caregivers do not know how to locate home modification products or professionals.
3. The most common home modification used to help with caregiving is grab bars, however, many home modifications were not especially designed products but are homemade solutions invented by the caregiver.
4. Caregivers perceived the bathroom to be the most problematic room in the house.
5. A supportive home environment must be accompanied by the ability to get in and out of the home and to transfer the care recipient into a car or taxi.
6. Caregivers do not use home modifications primarily due to expense and lack of understanding of the benefits.
7. Caregivers believe they would receive more financial support if they placed their loved one in a facility.

Environmental coping strategies via home modifications and assistive devices must be addressed by programs, professionals and policies responding to the needs of caregivers. CARES' next project will provide training and technical assistance to aging network agencies on strategies to improve environmental coping strategies for caregivers

To view the full-length article [in WORD format] titled "Caregiver Adaptations To Reduce Environmental Stress: The Role Of Home Modifications" written by Julie Overton from the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modifications, [Click Here].


April 2003

Elderly Housing Needs in California
Jon Pynoos, Ph.D. and Christy Nishita from the Center, along with Marvin Schachter and Carla Hett Smith from the California Commission on Aging, produced a policy report on the housing needs of older adults in California. This report will aid in the creation of a long- range strategic plan for older Californians, as required by SB 910 (Vasconcellos).

Input from public discussions held around the state as well as additional research culminated in the production of policy papers on the issues of housing, health, transportation, and planning/systems design.

The papers were presented at the California Commission on Aging's (CCOA) Statewide Invitational Forum on April 1-2, 2003. The CCOA is the "principal advocate in the state on behalf of older adults, (providing) advisory participation in the consideration of all legislation and regulations made by state and federal departments and agencies relating to programs and services that affect older individuals".

Invitees to this forum included representatives of state agencies and organizations such as the California Department of Aging, California Health and Human Services, the California Housing Finance Agency, the California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, and Housing California.

The paper on housing issues included sections on the adequacy and accessibility of housing. To improve the adequacy of housing by addressing problems with electricity, plumbing, or heating, a few of the recommendations were to:

1. Expand the current state funding sources for home improvements- the State Community Development Block Grant Program and the California Self-Help Housing Program

2. Create a state low-interest loan program for home repair, similar to Maine's award-winning FIX ME program, which is a low-interest rehabilitation loan program funded by the state and specifically targeted to low-income homeowners.

To address the accessibility of housing, a few of the recommendations were to:

1. Link home modification better with community-based programs: Comprehensive home assessments should be conducted in home and community-based services programs (e.g. MSSP and other case management services) to facilitate aging in place.

2. Increase funds for home modification by:
a. Advocating for Medicare and Medi-Cal to pay for home modification assessments by health care professionals and reimburse a greater range of home modifications
b. Developing accessibility loan and grant programs under the California Housing
Finance Agency. Programs could be modeled after the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency's (MHFA) Fix Up Fund, which uses housing revenue bonds to assist homeowners to increase the livability, accessibility, and energy efficiency of homes. The MHFA also has an Accessibility Loan program funded by state appropriations.

3. Endorse the concepts of visitability and universal design by:
a. Providing incentives for builders and developers to adopt these practices in housing
funded by the state
b. Encouraging local governments to adopt mandatory universal design guidelines and
visitability ordinances

The full report (in Microsoft Word format) can be accessed at: CCOA Housing Forum Paper Findings


Phoebe S. Liebig named recipient of the 2002 Clark Tibbitts Award
Congratulations to Phoebe S. Liebig, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Gerontology and Public Administration at the University of Southern California who is this year's proud recipient of the prominent Clark Tibbits Award. Presented by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE), this award is given to recognize individuals who have made exceptional contribution to the gerontology education field.

With over 25 years of dedication to the field of aging, Dr. Liebig has conducted countless research and national studies focusing on long-term care. Among her many achievements, Dr. Liebig is currently a research faculty at the Andrus Gerontology Center; she has published numerous influential selected chapters and journal articles on elderly housing issues with an emphasis on state policies, legislation, and cross-national comparisons.

To find out more about the award, visit www.aghe.org.


Proposed Elimination of the California Department of Aging
In response to the state budget crisis, the Legislative Analyst's Office
(LAO) has proposed the elimination of the California Department of Aging
in favor of combining it with the Department of Social Services (DSS).

The LAO predicts that eliminating the CDA could save approximately $3.4
million in expenditures with the consequential elimination of 37
positions. The LAO notes the benefit of a reduction in service
duplication by transferring CDA responsibilities to DSS. In addition, the
proposed consolidation of the CDA and DSS is expected to improve service
linkages and result in a more cohesive, user-friendly system for
consumers. The LAO adds that the move to house Older Americans Act
programs with other agencies would not be unique to California, as
twenty-nine other states currently operate using this format.

For details, please see the LAO's Analysis of the 2003-04 Budget Bill at:

http://www.lao.ca.gov/analysis_2003/health_ss/hss_4_4170_anl03.htm#_Toc32671501

One of the primary duties of the LAO is to offer legislative suggestions
to the Governor's budget in the form of the "Analysis of the Budget Bill,"
which is published at the end of February.


March 2003
City of Irvine Wins National Disability's 2002 Accessible America Award
The City of Irvine was awarded the 2002 Accessible America Award, sponsored
by the National Organization on Disability (NOD). This national award
heralds Irvine as a model city for its focus on disability issues and its
successful design of programs, services and facilities that are accessible
for all citizens and visitors who have disabilities.

Designed to recognize community-wide efforts to be accessability friendly,
the contest showcased cities where citizens with disabilities have full or
equal opportunities to participate in the life of the community, including
access to jobs, education, religious worship, voting, transportation,
housing, and the entire range of social, recreational, cultural and sports
activities.

Irvine's welcoming attitude impressed the judges, eight leading national
disability advocates and experts. As one of the nation's largest planned
urban communities, Irvine uses its master plan to promote full access to
schools, parks, religious institutions, recreational facilities and events
for all residents, workers and visitors. Some examples of City programs and
services that advocate accessibility include:
The City's Community Partners Emergency Response Team, which invites
disability community involvement in brainstorming concerns and in preparing
for emergencies. The Irvine Residents with Disabilities Advisory Board, chartered in 1990, who
responds to disability issues related to transportation, community awareness,
employment, housing, accessibility and social/recreational facilities.
Irvine's Access Reporting Policy, which forwards citizen complaints regarding
community accessibility to the appropriate City department for swift
investigation and resolution, culminating in a plan of action within two
weeks. This is a particular series of programs that are near and dear to my
heart, said Mayor Larry Agran. Our city has worked very hard to ensure a
quality environment for all our residents, including those with disabilities.
This dedication is what makes Irvine the strong community it is today, and
what it will be for generations to come.

City officials will receive a cash award of $25,000 to support and fund local
disability-related endeavors. This award acknowledges the City of Irvine's
community-wide progress on disability issues and promotes other cities to
replicate these efforts.

For more information on Disability Services, call (949) 724-6633.

California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging Public Policy Conference
Resource Center staff attended the California Association of Homes and Services for the Aging's (CAHSA) annual Public Policy Conference. The conference was held February 3, 2003 through February 5, 2003 in Sacramento. Almost 200 representatives of member organizations from all over California convened to learn about current legislative issues affecting older adults and older adult service providers. Attendees represented all spectrums of the continuum of care-from skilled nursing to home- and community-based services.

Capitol visits were an integral part of the conference. CAHSA members met with state senators and assemblymembers to brief them on issues of concern. Freshman legislators in particular were targeted, and many were interested in learning about the continuum of care CAHSA members provide for older Californians.

CAHSA announced the recipients of its Legislator of the Year awards. The Assemblymember of the Year is Dario Frommer (D-43), and the Senator of the Year is Jackie Speier (D-8). They were recognized for their efforts to promote legislation benefiting older Californians.

CAHSA outlined its five legislative priorities for the current session. They are as follows:
1. Recognizing the special needs for housing seniors and frail elderly in California
2. Authorizing on-line training for RCFE administrators
3. Protecting independent living residents in CCRCs
4. Addressing the workforce crisis (i.e. nursing shortage)
5. Liability insurance

For more information about CAHSA and its public policy platforms, please visit http://www.aging.org.


February 5-6, 2003
A California Blueprint for Fall Prevention
In Sacramento on February 5-6, 2003, the Archstone Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation, the VA Geriatric Research Educational Clinical Center, and the California Geriatric Education Center will present the conference, "A California Blueprint for Fall Prevention." Prominent leaders on falls and home modifications will gather to discuss the latest research developments.

Falls are painful, expensive, and potentially deadly health risks for American seniors. Causes of falls include physical weaknesses, balance problems, functional impairment, poor vision, and polypharmacy. Participants at the conference will share ideas and explore programs that have been rated as successful and hold promise for fall reduction.

The Archstone Foundation was created in 1995 as a philanthropic organization that would help promote health in general. In 1996, the focus of the foundation was redirected to senior health. For more information about the Archstone Foundation, please contact: www.archstone.org.

February 2, 2003
USC Experts Assist Alaska's Elderly Veterans
Dr. Jon Pynoos, Professor of Gerontology and Policy Services at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology along with Loren G. Lipson, Chief of the Division of Geriatric Medicine at the USC Keck School of Medicine, are assisting the Veteran's Administration (VA) with advice to reconsider a plan to create a new facility that would have centralized services for elderly Alaskan veterans in a single location.

Relying on the advice of Pynoos and Lipson, the VA is moving forward with a new plan that would guarantee veteran housing in six Pioneers' Homes--state-run long-term care facilities already in existence, and obviate the need for many veterans to move from their communities to access care.

James Kohn, Director of the Division of Longevity Service of the Alaska Department of Administration, said the new plan provides clear advantages over the original proposal to build a single new central VA facility to serve the entire state. "Dr. Lipson has been up on numerous occasions for several years. He and Dr. Pynoos have served as consultants and both wrote to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi endorsing the plan. I think their comments had quite a bit of influence in Washington," he added.

Source of article is taken from "USC Expertise Guides Treatment of Elderly in Alaska's Pioneer Homes" by John Nalick (USC News). To view the article in its entirety, click on http://uscnews.usc.edu/usc/campus.lasso?id=35824

February 2003
NRCSHHM Welcomes Dory Sabata, OTD!

Our Center would like to congratulate Ms. Dory Sabata who has just successfully completed the Doctorate in Occupational Therapy (OTD) at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Ms. Sabata spent the last few months of 2002 here at the Center, fulfilling the internship requirement of the doctoral program. During her time with us, she assisted with the review of background papers for the Morton Kesten Summit and participated as a co-author of a white paper for a state level Falls Prevention Conference, among other things. Congratulations Dr. Sabata!

Dr. Sabata will be joining the staff of the Center as a Program Specialist. She will assist in advancing the Center's research agenda and will be active in education, in particular the online component. Welcome!


January 28, 2003
The NRCSHHM to Offer Internet Courses for Care Managers
The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification is offering an internet-based course for care managers in the County of Los Angeles, California. "Six Steps to Integrating Home Modification into Your Care Plan" begins Tuesday, January 28, 2003 to educate busy care professionals about the significant role of home modifications in alleviating the stress associated with caregiving. The course is offered in an asynchronous format via the internet to that participants can access course work any time at their convenience.

Home modifications (HMs) are adaptations to the physical environment to increase ease of use, safety, comfort, security and independence. HMs include structural changes (e.g., widening doorways, remodeling bathrooms), use of special equipment and assistive devices (e.g., grab bars, handheld showers, transfer benches), and behavioral changes (e.g., moving furniture). HMs provide family caregivers with adequate space and supportive features so that care can be provided safely and easily. HMs also increase the care receivers' independence, comfort, safety, and help everyone to save money by reducing the need for paid caregiving and delaying institutionalization.

During the course, care managers will participate in interactive exercises to test and enhance their knowledge of the various issues surrounding home modifications. By the end of the course, care managers will be able to assist their clients with incorporating home modifications into their daily routines, and have networked with their counterparts in the rest of the Los Angeles County.

For more information, contact Maria Henke at (213)740-1364 or email mhenke@usc.edu.
"Six Steps to Integrating Home Modification into Your Care Plan: A Special Course for Los Angeles County Care Managers" is made possible through support of the Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging under Title III-E, the National Family Caregiver Support Program.


October 30, 2002
The 4th Annual Morton Kesten Summit
On October 30, 2002, the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification organized and hosted the 4th Annual Morton Kesten Summit. The Summit focused on the implementation of home modifications as a means for furthering independence for all Californians, with an emphasis on the elderly and individuals with disabilities. Co-sponsored by the California Department of Aging Senior Housing Information and Support Center, this year's Summit took place at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center in Los Angeles, California. The theme for the Summit was "A California Blueprint for Action on Home Modification.

Approximately 130 people representing state and local government agencies, local home modification programs, disability groups, associations, professionals, consumers, and researchers attented the one-day, invitation-only conference. Participants listened to panel presentations on four key areas: Service Delivery, Funding, Regulations and Standards, and Consumer Awareness/Acceptance and then developed draft recommendations for a California Blueprint for Action on Home Modifications in breakout groups.

Next steps for the California Blueprint for Action include a California Home Mod list serve, a finalized Blueprint for Action on Home Modifications with specific recommendations, and a follow-up Summit at the state's capitol in Sacramento in the spring, 2003.

If you would like a copy of any background papers or more information about the Summit, call (213) 740-1364 or email homemods@usc.edu