We are extremely proud of our long-standing partnership with the Saint Catherine University’s graduate Occupational Therapy program. This partnership focuses on providing safety and accessibility modifications for low-income homeowners who are older adults or individuals living with a disability, so they can live more safely and independently in their own homes. Through this partnership, we expanded our evaluation of our Accessibility programs last year and found that our home modification interventions resulted in measurable improvements to the quality of life, safety, independence and overall well-being of both the senior homeowner and their caregivers. This pilot assessment focused on 15 low-income senior homeowners and used both quantitative and qualitative (primarily interview) tools.
According to the study’s author, Melody Oaks, statistical analysis showed significant improvements in occupational participation in valued daily activities, decreased fear of falling and a decrease in the risk of long-term care placement. She states, “The positive findings suggest that home modifications involving occupational therapists can improve occupational participation and safety for low-income older adult homeowners. Qualitative results revealed themes of increased independence and accessibility, improved community relationships and occupational activities, and increased hope to remain aging in place.” She also notes that the home modifications relieved the burden and stress of caregivers. Bernice, one of the clients in the study who received a ramp, said “I just hop in the wheelchair and buzz down the ramp. There’s no heavy lifting for Scott. [her husband.]”
This study demonstrates the tangible and immediate positive impact on the seniors we were able to serve and their caregivers.