Small Modular Houses May Offer Alternatives To Older Adults

Walk around the campus of the University of Southern Indiana, and you may notice a very small house. It’s part of an experiment to create houses of 600 square feet that can be built in days. These little homes could offer housing alternatives for elderly people. Isaiah Seibert of member station WNIN in Evansville has the story.

ISAIAH SEIBERT, BYLINE: The small, 600-square-foot modular house is called Minka. The name is derived from a simple and functional style of Japanese home. Bill Thomas is a geriatrician by training, but today he’s overseeing the construction of one of the first Minka prototypes on this university campus in southwestern Indiana, with his elderly patients in mind.

Full story at npr.org

8 Ways to Ease Holiday Isolation for Older Adults

Holidays can heighten loneliness.

The household baker who loaded platters with red-and-green frosted cookies. The grandfather who proudly carved the massive turkey. The mom who was a wrapping-paper whiz. The neighbor whose outdoor decorations outshone the entire block. The dad who carefully lit the menorah. The parents who planned amazing family trips for winter breaks. The jovial host who filled guests’ glasses with eggnog or champagne. As they grow older, the people in your life who once made holidays special could use some cheer and attention themselves. Here’s how you can help them celebrate and feel connected.

Full story at US News

Simple Home Improvements for the Vision Impaired

Coping with vision impairment has become a necessity for many more people as the baby boom generation ages, but some simple improvements can help aging homeowners stay independent and safe.

It can be something as basic as painting a door frame a different color or getting rid of dinner plates that blend right into a tablecloth. “They’re mostly subtle changes, but it can have a high impact,” said Charnora Simon, the coordinator of the adaptive living program at Helen Keller Services for the Blind, a nonprofit group.

She recalled one client, for example, who was having a tough time eating and drinking without spilling things. Ms. Simon spotted the problem right away: the client was using beige dishes and mugs on a white tablecloth.

Full story at the New York Times

How Knowing When to Call in Professional Help is Key

Even though we would like to think we can, it’s impossible to handle all of life’s nuisances on our own. In fact, many of history’s most successful people attributed their successes to knowing when to seek the help of others. This goes for all areas of life whether it be business, education or dealing with a problem. For me, dealing with a major problem is where I finally learned this significant life lesson.

Trying to always handle things myself, I came to a road block when a huge problem arose within my family. After recently putting my grandmother in a nursing home, she made us aware that things really weren’t going so well. She was complaining to us that the food seemed to be making her sick. My family and I shrugged her complaints off for a while and just thought she was being dramatic and trying to get taken out of the home. However, as time went on, we realized that she was right. She looked worse than ever, seemed a lot thinner and didn’t have much energy. The staff started to give her more medications to help her stomach which ended up having a whole host of negative side effects.

Full story at the Huffington Post

Worker-owned cooperatives may help address elder care deficit

A growing elder care shortage could be eased by worker-owned cooperatives, a little-used business model that also improves the working conditions and the quality of life for caregivers. That’s the conclusion reached by University of Georgia faculty member Rebecca Matthew and Vanessa Bransburg, a cooperative development specialist, in a recent, award-winning case study.

Matthew, an assistant professor at the UGA School of Social Work, and Bransburg, a staff member at Democracy at Work Institute in San Diego, California, looked for a successful system of home-based caring labor that puts equal emphasis on the well-being of both the care recipient and the provider. They examined the most popular forms of paid child care — for-profit and nonprofit services — alongside worker-owned child care cooperatives. The latter system is popular in other parts of the world, but represents a fraction of the caregiving services available in the U.S.

The cooperatives, which give employees greater control over their working conditions and a share in profits, improved the quality of life of both care recipients and providers.

Full story of worker-owned cooperatives and the elder care deficit at Science Daily

Phone checklist can help detect changes in clinical status among home care recipients

A simple phone checklist can help detect telltale changes in the health status of people receiving nonmedical home care, according to the findings of a pilot study led by investigators at Harvard Medical School.

Results of the research, published online Aug. 10 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, are based on a program that requires home-care aides to record changes in status during a telephone clockout at the end of each shift.

The research was conducted in collaboration with Right at Home, a senior home care provider, and ClearCare, a company that provides a software platform for homecare agencies.

Full story of phone checklist and home care at Science Daily

Cost of informal caregiving for U.S. elderly is $522 billion annually, study finds

The price tag for informal caregiving of elderly people by friends and relatives in the United States comes to $522 billion a year, according to a new RAND Corporation study.

Replacing that care with unskilled paid care at minimum wage would cost $221 billion, while replacing it with skilled nursing care would cost $642 billion annually.

The study, published online by the journal Health Services Research, improves on earlier estimates about the value of informal caregiving by making use of the 2011 and 2012 American Time Use Survey, a new and unique database, to provide up-to-date cost estimates on informal caregiving.

Full story of caregiving costs for the elderly at Science Daily

Care managers in patient-centered medical homes increase improvements in diabetes patient outcomes, study shows

Patient centered medical homes (PCMHs) have been found to be an effective way to help care for patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes. Dr. Robert Gabbay, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, Chief Medical Officer and Senior Vice President at Joslin Diabetes Center, and his team conducted a study that shows the strategic placement of care managers in PCMHs can further improve patient outcomes for high-risk diabetes patients.

The study, conducted in southeastern Pennsylvania, compared different models of care management and how they impacted diabetes outcomes in three practices with 25 primary-care PCMHs. The identity of the care managers varied among the sites: with some positions filled by nurses or nurse practitioners, while others used social workers or medical assistants.

Full story of medical home improvements at Science Daily