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Rural Health Information Hub

Rural Project Examples: Aging and aging-related services

Evidence-Based Examples

StrongPeople™ Program
Updated/reviewed July 2022
  • Need: Few older adults, particularly women and those in rural areas, participate in healthy living interventions.
  • Intervention: Health educators lead community-based healthy living classes, which include strength training, aerobic exercise, dietary skill building, and/or civic engagement, depending on the program.
  • Results: StrongPeople™ programs have been shown to improve weight, diet, physical activity, strength, cardiovascular health profile, physical function, pain, depression, and/or self-confidence in midlife and older adults.
Fit & Strong!®
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition which often causes multiple related disabilities in older adults.
  • Intervention: An 8-week physical activity, behavior change, and falls prevention program geared to older adults with osteoarthritis.
  • Results: Participants gained confidence with increased exercise, lessened stiffness, improved joint pain and improved lower extremity strength and mobility.

Effective Examples

LIFE - Living well through Intergenerational Fitness and Exercise
Updated/reviewed November 2022
  • Need: Older adults in rural Iowa have inadequate access to physical activity specialists and/or exercise facilities, which limits their ability to remain sufficiently active.
  • Intervention: Iowa State University implemented an intergenerational "exergaming" program to encourage fun and safe physical fitness among rural older adults.
  • Results: Pilot studies showed that older adults demonstrated increases in strength, flexibility, activity levels, and confidence in their ability to be physically active. Younger adults experienced reduced ageism and increased knowledge and expectations of aging.
Care for Our Elders/Wakanki Ewastepikte
Updated/reviewed June 2022
  • Need: To provide Lakota elders with tools and opportunities for advance care planning.
  • Intervention: An outreach program in South Dakota helps Lakota elders with advance care planning and wills by providing bilingual brochures and advance directive coaches.
  • Results: Care for Our Elders saw an increase in the number of Lakota elders understanding the differences between a will and a living will and the need to have end-of-life discussions with family and healthcare providers.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Livingston County Help For Seniors
Updated/reviewed May 2020
  • Need: Meeting the health needs of geriatric patients in rural Livingston County, New York.
  • Intervention: The Help for Seniors program was developed and using its 'vodcasts,' local EMTs were trained in geriatric screening methods and health needs treatment.
  • Results: In addition to developing a successful model for educating EMS personnel, the program screened over 1200 individuals and identified various risks among the geriatric population.

Promising Examples

SASH® (Support and Services at Home)
Updated/reviewed March 2022
  • Need: In Vermont, the growing population of older adults, coupled with a lack of a decentralized, home-based system of care management, poses significant challenges for those who want to remain living independently at home.
  • Intervention: SASH® (Support and Services at Home), based in affordable-housing communities throughout the state, works with community partners to help older adults and people with disabilities receive the care they need so they can continue living safely at home.
  • Results: Compared to their non-SASH peers, SASH participants have been documented to have better health outcomes, including fewer falls, lower rates of hospitalizations, fewer emergency room visits, and lower Medicare and Medicaid expenditures.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy ARcare Aging Well Outreach Network
Updated/reviewed March 2021
  • Need: To reduce falls and improve chronic care management for adults 50 or older in rural Cross County, Arkansas.
  • Intervention: The ARcare Aging Well Outreach Network, run by an FQHC, provided services like falls prevention assessments, transportation to appointments, medication management, and senior-specific exercise opportunities.
  • Results: From May 2015 to April 2018, the network served 639 patients through 1,580 medical encounters.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy Health Coaches for Care Transition
Updated/reviewed December 2019
  • Need: To help older patients with chronic conditions learn to manage their illnesses and thereby reduce hospital readmissions in Oconee County, South Carolina.
  • Intervention: Community volunteers trained as health coaches mentor discharged patients with certain chronic conditions, to help them transition from home health care to self-care.
  • Results: Participants had improved health behaviors and reduced readmissions.

Other Project Examples

Geezers, Gulpers, and Gardeners
Updated/reviewed September 2022
  • Need: Suicide rates among white males age 65 and older have been rising in North Carolina. Challenges include losing friends, illnesses, and the loss of independence – all of which can lead to isolation and depression.
  • Intervention: The Chatham County Council on Aging of North Carolina started Geezers, Gulpers, and Gardeners (3G Group) to connect retired men in need of male friends and mutual support.
  • Results: Men in similar stages of life and varying backgrounds are forming friendships, engaging in activities, and taking care of their mental health.
Age-Friendly and Dementia-Friendly Winnemucca and Humboldt County
Updated/reviewed August 2022
  • Need: To make a rural community more inclusive for older adults.
  • Intervention: Winnemucca, Nevada, holds monthly meetings to discuss topics like health, housing, social events, community improvement, education, and transportation.
  • Results: These meetings have led to many changes for community welfare and safety as well as opportunities for education and activities.