CAPABLE: National Program aimed to help seniors live longer and more independently expands to Philly
Hands from the Heart and The Hairston Foundation for Social Justice are partnering to bring the innovative Johns Hopkins-developed program to the region.
The CAPABLE program will be expanding to the Philadelphia region, thanks to a critical new partnership.
On July 7, it was announced that Hands from the Heart (“HFTH”) has partnered with The Hairston Foundation for Social Justice to help Philadelphia region seniors age safely in their homes.
The CAPABLE program, which stands for “Community Aging in Place - Advancing Better Living for Elders” was launched more than a decade ago by nurses at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and implemented locally by HFTH.
The program was developed primarily with a focus on low-income seniors with the goal of enhancing the health and quality of life of its participants.
“CAPABLE is a life-changing program for so many people living with chronic illness due to age or disability,” said Roosevelt Hairston, CEO of The Hairston Foundation, in a press release. “Our foundation is pleased to play a small part in helping to expand CAPABLE and improve the health and independence of seniors in our region.”
CAPABLE’s innovative approach combines nursing care, occupational therapy and handyman services in a collaborative way that works to address the challenges caused by aging that make it difficult for seniors to continue living at home, while also using the strengths of the seniors themselves to improve their safety and independence.
“Each member of the CAPABLE team has a specific role,” said Christine Hunsberger-Smith, director of operations at HFTH.
“The nurse provides overall health assessments and recommendations; the occupational therapist works to develop functional goals, such as walking stairs or reaching up into cabinets safely; and the handy worker makes modest home modifications necessary to reduce risks, which may enable the senior to access areas of the home that may have been difficult due to age or illness,” she added.
The nurse and occupational services are provided by HFTH medical professionals, while the home repairs are provided by contracted specialists.
CAPABLE is currently in more than 30 locations across the country, and has seen substantial positive results. These include cutting disability in half, decreased depressive symptoms, improved health outcomes, and reduced health care costs.
According to Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, $3,000 in participant program costs has shown to yield over $30,000 in medical cost savings driven by reductions in both inpatient and outpatient expenditures. This is due, in part, to CAPABLE resulting in a decrease in hospitalizations and nursing home placements.
The enrollment period for eligible seniors residing in Philadelphia, Montgomery and Delaware counties began in July 2021. All services of CAPABLE are free to participating seniors.
This article is part of Broke in Philly, a collaborative reporting project among more than 20 news organizations focused on economic mobility in Philadelphia. Read all of our reporting at brokeinphilly.org.