Home Modification News

Published by the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification
A project of The California Endowment and The Archstone Foundation.


University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center, Los Angeles, California

February 2003
Volume 1, Issue 1

From the Director, Jon Pynoos
Welcome to Home Modification News, a quarterly newsletter from the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification. The Center conducts a variety of activities to promote aging in place by making home modification a more integral part of long-term care, preventive health, and elder-friendly communities. In this issue, you will find updated information on policies, funding, services and programs relevant to home modification.

Our home modification effort focuses on four main areas: service delivery through ongoing research projects on the local and national levels compiling lessons learned from the field; funding and policies research through surveys and case studies on major state housing programs and legislation; systems change through building state and local home modification coalitions; and education of professionals and consumers through an online education program, onsite workshops, and teleconferences.

For more information about the Resource Center, visit our website at www.homemods.org where you will find a wealth of information related to supportive housing and home modification.

 

According to Program Manager Maria Henke, "… participants will have the opportunity to network with their counterparts in the rest of the Los Angeles County."

 

Home Modifications and Care Plans
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" began 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 so 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 can provide family caregivers with adequate space and supportive features so that care can be provided safely and easily. HMs can also increase the care receivers' independence, comfort, and safety. They can also help everyone 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. According to Maria Henke, Program Manager, the course will help care managers assist their clients with incorporating home modifications into their daily routines. "In addition," she said, "participants will have the opportunity to network 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. Plans are underway to make this course available to agencies nation-wide.

 

According to Program Manager Julie Overton, " … the home environment is often overlooked in current caregiving strategies."

Two-Year Project to Increase Caregiving Skills and Reduce Stress
On September 26, 2002 the U.S. Administration on Aging announced a two-year grant award to the University of Southern California (USC) Andrus Gerontology Center for its Project CARES, or Caregiver Adaptations to Reduce Environmental Stress. Project CARES is intended to increase utilization of environmental coping strategies (ECS) by caregivers to reduce physical burden and strain. Service providers will learn how to better assist caregivers with ECS that help older persons remain at home more safely.

According to Jon Pynoos, USC's Professor of Gerontology and CARES principal investigator, caregiving burden comes from various aspects of the work. He adds: "The stress can range from the emotional strain of constant vigilance to the physical strain of having to routinely lift a person out of a bed, chair or bathtub.

"Unfortunately, the home environment is often overlooked in current caregiving strategies," said Julie Overton of the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification and CARES Program Manager. She added that the project centers on increasing knowledge about the benefits of home modifications in alleviating caregiver stress.

Phoebe Liebig, USC's Associate Professor of Gerontology and a CARES associate, commented on the timeliness of the project since not much is known about the impact of home modifications and other home-based technologies on family caregivers. Phoebe Liebig, USC's Associate Professor of Gerontology and a CARES associate, commented on the timeliness of the project since not much is known about the impact of home modifications and other home-based technologies on family caregivers.

Consisting of four stages, the project will target Area Agencies on Aging (AAA), state-funded service-providing organizations that coordinate with caregivers and assess problems of older persons. Within the country, there are 660 AAAs. California alone has 33. The project's first stage involves surveying these local agencies to determine the extent to which environmental coping strategies are incorporated in their Family Caregiver Support Program. For more information, contact Julie Overton at (213)740-1352 or email OvertonUsc@aol.com.

 

Phoebe Liebig

AGHE presents 2003 Tibbitts Award to Phoebe Liebig
Phoebe S. Liebig, Ph.D., USC Associate Professor of Gerontology and Senior Policy Analyst at the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification will receive the prestigious Tibbitts Award presented by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE). This award recognizes individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of gerontology as a field of study. Dr. Liebig will deliver the Tibbitts Lecture at AGHE's Twenty-Ninth Annual Meeting and Educational Leadership Conference that is taking place March 6-9, 2003 in St. Petersburg, Florida. Her lecture will focus on the major shifts and trends in gerontological and geriatric education in the past 25 years. For more information, visit the AGHE website at www.aghe.org.

 

Dory Sabata

Congratulations! Dory Sabata, OTD, and Welcome!
Our Center would like to congratulate Ms. Dory Sabata who has just successfully completed the Doctorate in OccupationalTherapy (OTD) program 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!

 

The California Home Modification Blueprint for Action
On October 30, 2002, the National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification organized and hosted the 4th Annual Morton Kesten Summit. This annual event is endowed by a family member in memory of the late Morton Kesten. This year's 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 attended 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 inbreakout groups.

An immediate outcome of the Summit was the setting up of the California Home Mod list serve tocontinue the efforts ofthe Morton Kesten Summits. For instructions on subscribing to the list, please email to natrescr@usc.edu. The finalized Blueprint for Action on Home Modifications with specific recommendations is expected out in the spring, 2003. For more information, contact Julie Overton at (213)740-1352 or email OvertonUsc@aol.com.


Registration

 

Models of Home Modification Programs
Older Southern Californians Get Free Home Modifications for Security and Safety
Older Californians in the Santa Clarita Valley may be able to have free home modifications and repair done to their homes. In addition to funding assistance, the Handyworker Program of the Santa Clarita Senior Center provides eligible applicants with a free home assessment, the installation of home modification items such as grab bars, handrails, lever door handles, ramps as well as screen and smoke detectors. The Santa Clarita Valley, one of the fastest growing communities in Southern California, is located 35 miles north of Los Angeles and has over 33,000 senior citizens.

The Handyworker Program provides free home modifications and home repair to eligible owner and renter occupied single-family homes, condominiums, and mobile homes. Low and moderate income elderly, single parent households, and persons with disabilities in need of emergency repairs are accorded priority.

For more information, contact the Senior Center at (661) 259-9444 or (800) 822-9444. The Santa Clarita Senior Center is the lead agency for the Santa Clarita Home Modification Action Coalition, which is sponsored by this National Resource Center.

 

Home Modifications for Pennsylvanians: SHARP and AMP
The Senior Housing Assistance Repair Program (SHARP) and the Adaptive Modification Program (AMP) are administered by the Philadelphia Corporation for Aging's (PCA) Housing Department. Both programs aim to increase the supply of safe, appropriate, and affordable housing for older persons and people with physical disabilities. This is achieved through the provision of home repair services and specialized environmental modifications.

Philadelphia is a city of row houses. Some are narrow-structured tri-level homes that have as many as five steps leading up to the front door with steep stairways inside. SHARP provides minor home repairs and modifications for homeowners 60 years and over, while the AMP provides extensive home modifications to persons with disabilities. Both programs help residents maintain their independence and aim to improve accessibility in the home.

PCA is a non-profit organization and designated by the Pennsylvania Department of Aging as the Area Agency on Aging (AAA) for Philadelphia County. PCA's mission is to improve the quality of life of older Philadelphians and those with disabilities by assisting them to achieve their maximum level of health, independence, and productivity.

For more information, contact PCA at (215) 765-9040 or visit them on the Web at www.pcaphl.org

 

Chris Lee

From The Editorial Team,
If the wind patterns bring you to the Windy City, we look forward to meeting you at the March 13-16 2003 Joint Conference of the National Council on the Aging and the American Society on Aging. The Resource Center is organizing a symposium entitled Housing Older Americans: A Futuristic Perspective, presenting two mini-workshops (Home Modification for a World of Difference and A Tale of Two Networks: Convergence and Divergence in Disability Services). It is also hosting a poster session focusing on home modification in the State of California (Home Modification Programs, Advocacy and Services: Rural Versus Urban California Centers for Independent Living.) For more information about the conference, visit them on the Web at www.agingconference.org.

Akemi Mayeda

 

About the Resource Center,
The National Resource Center on Supportive Housing and Home Modification is headquartered at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center. The Resource Center is a project supported by The California Endowment and the Archstone Foundation.

The Resource Center sponsors the National Home Modification Action Coalition, an informal nation-wide network of professionals and researchers interested in promoting aging in place and accessibility in the home. In addition to these efforts, we are currently developing a national initiative to help older adults maintain their independence and age in place.

For more information about the Resource Center or any of the above, please contact us via email at homemods@usc.edu or call (213) 740-1364. You can also visit us on the web at www.homemods.org.

 

 

[top]