Modify Your Home and Age in Place

By Aimee Sterk, LMSW, MATP Program StaffThe outline of a home with the words Home Sweet Home inside it

A study, Community Aging in Place, Advancing Better Living for Elders (CAPABLE), funded by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, showed that home modifications and access to AT (assistive technology), helped older adults age in place. The study results indicate 75% of participants were able to perform more activities of daily living than before they entered the study and symptoms of depression also improved.

The older adults who participated were paired with a team including an occupational therapist, nurse, and handyman who worked with them over a period of five months. Together, the team helped choose and install AT and make home repairs to improve safety and access. The budget for the AT, repairs, and handyman work was $1300.

Everyone in the study was on both Medicare and Medicaid and had barriers to completing activities of daily living including bathing, dressing, using the toilet, and walking across a small room.

A key aspect of the program was supporting the older adults to set their own goals instead of the professional team setting the goals for them. After the study was completed, participants are continuing to contact the researchers and share goals they are setting and achieving. This important work illuminating the benefits of AT and home modifications is expanding. One group is replicating the program in Michigan through Michigan State University—calling it MiCAPABLE and working with people who participate in the MiChoice Medicaid Waiver program in the state. We are always excited to see increased access to AT!

What programs and services have you accessed to improve your ability to age in place? Were they medical-model driven, or did you steer your goals? What kind of AT or home modifications improved your life?

Can You Hear Me Now? What about now? … Good!

By Jen Gosett, BS, CTRS, MATP Staff

Sound waves projecting into an earHearing loss is something that’s common in my family.  Since my late 20’s, I’ve noticed a decline in my hearing.  A concern in the back of my mind is that I will grow older and have to wear large, ill-fitting, analog hearing aids that don’t seem to work how I need them to; that was my Grama Ann’s experience and frustration with her own hearing aids.  As a child I remember many crowded family gatherings where I could hear Grama Ann’s hearing aids whistling shrilly until she manually turned them down or off all together.

Technology is ever evolving and I feel heartened that assistive tech for better/amplified/more intuitive hearing devices has improved over the years; namely by way of digital (DSP, or digital signal processor) hearing aids (versus the analog hearing aids my Grandmother used).

Ear surrounded by a variety of hearing aids
Both analog and digital hearing aids are used today, though analog are becoming a little less common, and digital hearing aids are becoming a more popular choice.  Analog and digital hearing aids both have similar components. Both types pick up sound using a microphone and use circuitry to amplify sound.  Analog hearing aids work by making continuous sound waves louder, amplify all sounds (speech and noise).  [DSP hearing aids] convert sound waves to digital signals, producing an exact duplication of each sound, instead of just amplifying it. Computer chips are used to analyze speech and other sounds, allowing for more complex processing of sounds during amplification.”  This text is from the HUH?!? Help U Hear Center.  

Woman wearing a futuristic-looking hearing aid

With the ways that Google Glass and Bluetooth technology work today, I can’t even imagine the possibilities of hearing aids of the future!  By learning about what’s out there today and thinking about what’s in store for the near future, I feel more comfortable planning for my own hearing supports.

Thanks for reading!

We are Back, Sort of…

Back in October 2016, our previous blog suddenly disappeared. We had over 3 years of regular posts on a wide variety of Assistive Technology-related topics. Despite having back-ups of all the posts and of the site, we have been unable to successfully recover the site or the articles.  If anyone can help, please let us know!

So for now, we’ve moved to this format. We’ll be updating the format of the site to maximize accessibility. Let us know as we go of any specific issues. We are working on it! The tools are a bit different so we have a bit of a learning curve to climb up.

We’ve missed all of you and have lot’s to say and share. We’ve been saving up ideas for posts! Stay tuned!