Promising Interventions to Promote Safe Aging in Place for Diverse Populations and Communities
The goal of this symposium is to identify promising interventions to promote aging in place rather than being stuck in place. The five presentations highlight some of the unique challenges of safe aging in place for vulnerable older adults from diverse backgrounds and diverse types of communities. The first paper draws from focus groups to inform senior transportation programs for promoting mobility and aging in place among older adults living in rural communities. The second paper examines survey data collected from suburban recipients of home-delivered meals, highlighting the critical role that this volunteer-based service plays in improving the health and quality of life of older adults living alone. The third paper examines cooperative senior housing as a site for aging in place for low-income older adults. Combining data from multiple sources, this paper identifies some institutional and individual-level barriers to aging in place in senior housing and offers recommendations for combining formal and informal support in both congregate and community-based settings. The fourth paper examines disparities in health and functioning among non-White recipients of home health care and explores institutional factors contributing to these disparities. Using data from a nationally-representative survey, the final paper challenges prior studies by finding that African American elders are less likely to fall than Whites, and identifies some social and familial protective factors that should be incorporated into falls prevention programs. Prior research indicates that falls are a risk factor for relocation to a nursing home.
Reflecting the myriad factors that can contribute to whether an older adult is safely aging in place or is stuck in place, these five presentations address a variety of community-based interventions for older adults in which social workers play a key role. Implications for research, policy and practice, particularly the need for better integration across these services, will be discussed.