Those who follow this blog know that I have been praising the home assessment and improvement program CAPABLE, initiated at John Hopkins for several years. CAPABLE is the acronym that explains the program’s purpose, Community Aging in Place – Advancing Better Living for Seniors. It has grown to be utilized in 30 cities as a way of using the services of a nurse, occupational therapist and a handyman to “fix” the homes of low income seniors to make living in their homes safer. The big verdict is that  it saves money in government terms. A small investment from $500 to $3000 per home can save more than $20,000 in other costs. Medicaid pays for it in Massachusetts, the only state so far, other wise it is funded through non-profits or some smart insurers.

So finally it has broken out on the broader political scene in a campaign speech by Joe Biden in July. The possibilities of expanding it are strong no matter who wins the election. Why? Because it will save taxpayers money and Medicare dollars overall. It has proven itself over and over again. Besides the fact that being able to get in and out of your house safely, makes live more livable – period. It also works with landlords to make improvements.

Sarah L. Szanton, Director of Innovative Care in Aging at John Hopkins , came up with this idea after her visits as a geriatric nurse to shut-ins in the Baltimore area.   She is excited about this possible expansion.

“It could be paid for as part of the Annual Wellness Visit -maybe that visit could be done at home.”

“Medicare Advantage programs could offer CAPABLE as part of their supplemental services.”

I hope her optimism is well founded.  This program is still based on what I call income sensitivity.  Yes, the lowest income seniors deserve all the resources they can get to be more functional in their homes.  Let us hope that the basic concept really hits the big time and a home assessment and appropriate services can be made available on some sort of sliding scale to all Medicare recipients.  As many of us have found during this time of being “shut-in” during the pandemic, personal wellness has a lot to do with home wellness.


Source: Forbes Magazine  “Wellness Design Makers Surprise  Appearance in  Biden Campaign Speech” Jamie Gold 8/31