Project Studies Ways to Help Seniors Age in Place

Development of a prototype long-term care community for low- to moderate-income urban elderly

From 1998 to 2000, a consortium of four nonprofit provider organizations worked to design a community-based program at low-income housing sites in Baltimore that would provide medical and social services to elderly residents who were not yet frail. Consortium members included:

  • Baltimore Medical System
  • Catholic Charities
  • Johns Hopkins Geriatric Center
  • Sinai Health System

Key Results

  • Based on findings from focus groups and other research, the project began to offer a set of services—companionship, housekeeping and ridesharing—to seniors living in their own homes, but a variety of marketing efforts yielded very little interest.
  • Project staff then adopted a fall-prevention program that its physicians could recommend to patients, sending a service coordinator to seniors' homes to recommend cost-effective changes that would prevent falls.
  • The project director participated in a state feasibility study for a new version of a Social HMO—a Medicare HMO which also includes long-term care services in the home—but the collapsing Medicare managed care market made a demonstration of this concept unfeasible.