Twenty percent of the US population will be age 65 or older by 2050, a surge from 8 percent in 1950 and 12 percent in 2000. The proportion of low-income older adults is also growing. Approximately 70 percent of people 65 and older are expected to need some level of long-term care, which may burden the nation’s health and caregiver systems. While there are many models to care for chronically ill older adults, there is less agreement on how to support healthier, low-income older adults to stay independent in their communities.
This study will compare the effectiveness of an in-home preventive healthcare program delivered by nurses to on-site health and wellness classes for older adults living in low-income independent housing. We also want to understand adherence and preferences of older adults for these two options.
The three-year study will take place in up to 18 low-income independent older adult apartment buildings in Los Angeles. Half of buildings will be randomized to offer the health and wellness classes, and the other half will offer the in-home preventive healthcare program. All study activities will be provided on-site at the building locations, and individuals living in the buildings will be invited to participate. A total of 480 participants will be recruited to participate, 240 in each group. Residents from participating buildings will meet with the research team to provide feedback throughout the study.
Other stakeholders, including doctors, housing services, social agencies, hospital leaders, professional societies, advocacy groups, and city policymakers will also meet with the team as an advisory group to share input and concerns. This project seeks to compare how each option maintains or improves health and functional independence in low-income older adults, with the goal of limiting dependency, moves to nursing homes, and the use of costly health services, while improving health behaviors and promoting the use of preventive health and appropriate community services.
*All proposed projects, including requested budgets and project periods, are approved subject to a programmatic and budget review by PCORI staff and the negotiation of a formal award contract.