Older Adults and Disability Research Projects

The number of people 65 years and older will grow by leaps and bounds over the next decades, and life expectancies are also trending longer. The impact of decreased physical function and associated costs and suffering for older adults will rise dramatically unless interventions are identified, tested, and widely implemented. Low-income older adults have a particular need for interventions addressing both housing and individual health risk, because they have higher rates of disability, pain, depression, chronic disease, and depression; less access to primary care; and are more likely to live in substandard housing. Low-income older adults also often lack the resources needed to make their homes safer, to compensate for increased difficulty of performing simple daily activities as they get older.

One of the National Center for Healthy Housing’s primary goals is to identify practical and proven steps for creating safe and healthy homes for older adults. NCHH’s older adult studies are some of the first to target both housing (environmental) and health risk factors, with a goal of enabling older adults to age safely in their own homes.

Since achieving healthy housing involves taking a holistic view of the home, some of the research projects listed below may not only be about older adults or disability; however, older adults, disability, or both are components of each project.

NCHH’s Older Adults and Disability Research Projects

Aging Gracefully in Place*
Building Assessment of Radon/Moisture Reduction with Energy Retrofits (BARRIER)
DC Green Housing Rehabilitation
Evaluating the Health Benefits of Green Affordable Housing
An Evaluation of Green Housing Rehabilitation in Minnesota
Green Rehabilitation of Elder Apartment Treatments (GREAT)
Housing and Energy Attributes Linked To Health through Retrofits (HEALTH-R)*
Housing Environmental Aspects Linked To Health with Ventilation (HEALTH-V)
Moving into Green Healthy Housing—The Yield in Reduced Medical Care Costs and Improved Health (MIGHHTY)
Watts to Well-Being

*This is a current research project.

Recommended Reading

Szanton, S. L., Wolff J. W., Leff, B., Thorpe, R. J., Tanner, E. K., Boyd, C.,
Xue, Q., et al. (2014, May). CAPABLE trial: A randomized controlled trial of nurse, occupational therapist and handyman to reduce disability among older adults: Rationale and designContemporary Clinical Trials, 38(1), 102–112.

Szanton, S. L., Roth, J., Nkimbeng, M., Jessica Savage, J., & Klimmek, R. (2014, June). Improving unsafe environments to support aging independence with limited resources. The Nursing Clinics of North America, 49(2), 133-145.

Engelhardt, G. V., Eriksen, M. D., & Greenhalgh-Stanley, N. (2013, November 19). A profile of housing and health among older Americans. Research Institute for Housing America & Mortgage Bankers Association.

Federal Interagency Forum of Aging-Related Statistics. (2016, August). Older Americans 2016: Key indicators of well-being. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

Ruiz, S., Snyder, L. P., Rotondo, C., Cross-Barnet, C., Colligan, E. M. (2017, March). Innovative home visit models associated with reductions in costs, hospitalizations, and emergency department use. Health Affairs, 36(3), 425-432.

Farber, N., Shinkle, D.,Lynott, J., Fox-Grage, W., & Harrell, R. (2011, December). Aging in place: A state survey of livability policies and practices. Washington, DC: National Conference of State Legislatures & AARP Public Policy Institute.