And it pays off. “On average, people’s disabilities are cut in half,” said Dr. Szanton. “Your pain is decreasing. Your ability to bathe and dress will improve. People stuck on the second floor of their home for years can go on family outings. “
CAPABLE reduced Medicaid spending and saw Medicare savings as well. Participants reported that it helped them stay home, make their home safer, and take care of themselves.
Elsewhere, tool users tell similar stories. “We all know someone who had an aunt or mother who couldn’t get up from the tub or the floor and bad things happened,” said Wendl Kornfeld, 72, who lives in Manhattan with her 83-year-old husband.
They had grab bars installed in their two showers for a total of around $ 120, “not a huge investment and it’s worth it for safety,” Ms. Kornfeld said.
In Mt. Joan Potter of Kisco, NY, appreciates the renovations her late husband did 20 years ago. He used a wheelchair, so the bathroom had a walk-in shower with a handheld showerhead, a raised toilet, and grab bars in key places. After receiving two hip replacements, Ms. Potter, 88, said, “I’m so grateful to have all of these things because I’m not that flexible myself.”
Why don’t more seniors use such devices?
Some customizations that help people stay home, such as outdoor ramps and stair sliders, come at high prices. Basic bathroom appliances that are widely available in pharmacies and online generally don’t. However, cost can still be an obstacle.
“Medicare includes ‘durable medical equipment’ – hospital beds, wheelchairs, walking aids,” said Tricia Neuman, who directs the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Medicare program. “It doesn’t cover handrails or grab bars, things that are used around the house.”