Regular physical activity benefits older adults physically and mentally. However, community-dwelling older adults who have difficulties with walking, bathing, dressing and other basic daily activities, lack access to physical activity. A growing number of seniors who need help with 2 or more activities of daily living (i.e., seniors with nursing home-level care needs) remain in the community and receive home care. Home care aides regularly provide routine housekeeping and personal care for an extended period of time and thus have a potential to promote their clients'physical activity. However, few existing physical activity programs are appropriate for home care aides to deliver to older clients in non-medical home care settings. The long-term goal of this project is to develop a sustainable health promotion program led by home care aides that can be used by community-based organizations (e.g. home care agencies, State Units on Aging) to maintain independence among nursing home-eligible older adults living in their homes. The primary objective is to pilot a physical activity program delivered by home care aides for community-dwelling older adults in a Medicaid- funded home care program.
The specific aims are: (1) to test and enhance the program feasibility, and (2) to test and enhance the feasibility of data collection and the applicability of outcome measures. The physical activity program, which consists of a brief motivational interview and three chair-bound movements, is expected to motivate nursing home-eligible seniors to increase physical activity and help maintain their independence in the community. The program, originally delivered by case managers, builds on scientific studies of physical activity and behavioral change, and will be translated into the one to be delivered by home care aides. This study will provide information necessary to design a future study to test the program's effectiveness.
This project focuses on the development of a physical activity program to be incorporated into the everyday care of seniors and the routine job of home care aides that can be used by agencies that provide Medicaid home care services. It proposes a new model of home care that would facilitate a cultural shift from a passive care model towards an active service model in which home care aides and their clients work together on a safe, simple physical activity program to maintain or improve function to remain in the community. The results will contribute to the development and dissemination of a sustainable physical activity program in real-life home care settings.