May 13th was a red-letter day for The Humanities Foundation. At a press conference in Columbia the organization received a grant of $7,500 from “Sustaining Our Seniors”, former Lt. Governor McConnell’s initiative to assist seniors statewide in successfully aging in place. It was the first grant to be awarded by the new state fund.
The Humanities Foundation intends to use the SOS funds to conduct a needs assessment of residents and former residents in our affordable apartments to determine the risk factors for a senior’s becoming unable to live independently at home. Once these factors are identified, the Foundation will create strategic prevention and intervention initiatives to assist seniors in “aging in place.” The new program will be called “Supporting our Seniors Aging in Place” (SSAIP).
Our partner in SSAIP is the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), and the team there is very enthusiastic about the potential benefits. Dr. Ron Acierno, our primary contact, is the Associate Dean for Research in the Office of Research of the College of Nursing. He has involved several of his colleagues from disciplines related to this project, and all have been very positive about the prospects. They want to be part of developing an effective model initiative that can then be expanded to the other 400+ Humanities Foundation low-income senior housing units outside Charleston and be replicated by other affordable housing developers across the nation.
Telemedicine, our MUSC partners believe, will prove to be the most cost-effective solution to meet the needs of Humanities Foundation’s low-income seniors, since lack of transportation is often a barrier to regular chronic disease monitoring and prevention activities for them. “We believe that technology will allow us to enhance, rather than replace provider services by ‘meeting patients where they are’ rather than making patients deal with all the difficulties and stress related to coming to the clinic,” said Dr. Acierno. “Sort of a back to the future version of the healthcare provider who made house calls.”
With the support of MUSC and with the acquisition of additional new funding, Humanities Foundation hopes to introduce the use of this technology onsite in each of our communities to increase residents’ interaction with medical providers.
Stay tuned as we continue to provide updates on this exciting new dimension in Humanities’ senior resident services program!