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

August 2003
Volume 1, Issue 3

From the Director,
Jon Pynoos

Newsletter Highlights:

  • National 'Aging In Place' Week
  • Special Fall Prevention Program

We are very happy to report that the first session of "Promoting C.A.R.E.S.: Tools for Success," our online training and technical assistance course for the aging network, is in full swing. The ten-week program presents eight "tools" that will prepare professionals to implement effective environmental coping strategies for caregiving. (There is more information about project CARES in this newsletter.) The Resource Center now looks forward to the month of October when the first session will conclude, followed by the launch of the second session on October 14.

We have had a great response to both sessions and have had to open a waiting list. For the second session, the Resource Center wants to insure that registrants from traditionally under-represented states will be involved.
The next issue of our newsletter will present the insights and lessons learned from the first session of "Promoting C.A.R.E.S."

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

National Aging In Place Week : 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.

Caregiver Adaptations to Reduce Environmental Stress

Julie Overton
Program Manager, (Project CARES)


On July 29, the Center launched the nation's first online training and technical assistance course for Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) and affiliates of the National Family Caregiver Support Program (NFCSP). "Promoting C.A.R.E.S.: Tools for Success", a ten-week online course, was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Administration on Aging. The online modules address ways to relieve physical and emotional stresses of caregiving with environmental coping strategies, or ECS (i.e., home modifications and the use of assistive devices). Some of the topics covered include: the basics of ECS, assessment, and the identification of resources for ECS. The course consists of weekly assignments, cyber-classroom participation, a teleconference with experts in the field, and guest lectures from mentors and other experts in caregiving and environmental coping strategies.

The next "Promoting C.A.R.E.S." online course will begin October 14. If you are a staff member of an AAA or affiliated to the NFCSP, you may register by going to www.homemods.org and clicking on "Online Courses", email to cares@usc.edu, or call Chris Lee at (213) 740-1364 for more information.

Project CARES also successfully convened four focus groups of family caregivers; one represented a minority population and the other was from a rural part of southern California.
Characteristics of the 40 caregivers from the four focus groups included: 1) nearly 50% were spousal caregivers; 30% were adult children; 2) over three-quarters were over age 70; and,3) 75% lived with their care recipient.
Among other things, the focus groups reported that lifting, transferring, and bathing were the top three physical caregiving burdens. Many of the caregivers commented that they did not know how to locate resources for environmental coping strategies. There was a major consensus that the bathroom was the most problematic caregiving area of the house.

(Editor's Note: Ms. Overton and Dr. Phoebe Liebig authored a report based on Project CARES that was presented by the latter at the 5th European Congress of Gerontology on July 3 in Barcelona, Spain.)

Fall Prevention - Special Program, ASA/NCOA 2004

The Resource Center is taking the lead in organizing an Archstone Foundation sponsored program on Fall Prevention at next year's Joint Conference of the American Society on Aging (ASA) and the National Council on the Aging (NCOA). The 2004 Joint Conference will take place from April 14-17 in San Francisco, California.

The special one-day program will feature keynotes, workshops, and a symposium on issues pertaining to fall prevention in the community setting and in institutions. The Centers for Disease Control report the following facts about falls: 1) More than one-third of adults ages 65 years and older fall each year; 2) In 2000, 1.6 million seniors were treated in emergency departments for fall-related injuries and 353,000 were hospitalized; and, 3) Among older adults, falls are the leading cause of injury deaths. To register for this Special Program, visit ASA's website www.agingconference.org/jc04/ later this year.

National Summit on Creating Caring Communities

Dory Sabata, OTD

Resource Center staff, Dory Sabata, OTD, will be presenting in a workshop ("Technology At The Fingertips of Caregivers") at the coming National Summit on Creating Caring Communities, September 21-23, in Orlando, Florida.

Organized by the U.S. Administration on Aging, the Summit is designed for state and local professionals and advocates who play an important role in reshaping the current health and long term care delivery system.

The goals of the Summit are to bring about changes at all levels that would: 1) promote policies and programs that would make the long-term care system more balanced and more responsive to the needs and preferences of older people and their family caregivers; 2) develop and operate innovative programs that will help older people to remain at home ad support family caregivers; and, 3) promote strategies and tools to prevent chronic diseases and eliminate the risk factors that cause them. For more information, click on www.hsrnet.net/AoASummit/ or send an email to fsturla@hsrnet.com.

Online Executive Certificate Program in Home Modification

The Resource Center commenced the third module of its online Executive Certificate Program in Home Modification on July 29. "Home Modification: How To Get It Done" is being taught by Mr. Jon A. Sanford, a guest lecturer who holds a Masters of Architecture from the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, and is currently a Research Architect at the Atlanta VA Medical Center. This module teaches students how to identify qualified contractors and negotiate for services, where to locate products, and how to evaluate a project upon completion.

For more information, contact Maria Henke at (213)740-1364 or email mhenke@usc.edu.

California Centers for Independent Living and Home Modifications

The Resource Center is pleased to announce that its study on the home modification activity of California Centers for Independent Living (CILs) has been completed. The study looked at the menu of services provided by California CILs and their collaboration efforts with respect to home modification. We also compared rural and urban CILs, looking at home modification service provision and funding. A major finding was that 91% of California CILs offered some kind of home modification service. However, only 20% had access to funding to have the home modifications installed.

For the online version of the report click here or our website at: http://www.usc.edu/dept/gero/nrcshhm/index.htm
Click on "California Centers for Independent Living and Home Modifications (Executive Summary)" in the 'Research' section of the home page.Please contact us if you would like a copy of the entire report at 213-740-1364.

From The Editorial Team

This summer issue of the Home Modification News includes an insert about the International Conference on Aging, Disability and Independence. The Resource Center is proud to co-sponsor this important event that will take place in Washington, D.C. from December 4-6, 2003. Resource Center staff will be participating in a symposium entitled "Common Ground: What do we mean by 'home modification'?" and taking part in a poster session entitled "Assessing Elder-Friendly Community Characteristics."

For more information, visit the conference website at http://www.asaging.org/icadi/ or contact Gwendolyn P. Mann at (352) 273-6451 or email gjpmann@hp.ufl.edu.

About the Resource Center

Maria Henke

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 ofprofessionals 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.