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Rural Project Examples: Elderly population

Promising Examples

Health Motivator Program
Updated/reviewed November 2020
  • Need: To increase physical activity and other healthy habits for older adults in West Virginia.
  • Intervention: Community members called Health Motivators lead senior centers and community groups in a monthly educational activity.
  • Results: In a 2016 survey, 97% of Health Motivators and 92% of group members said that their health improved because of the program.
funded by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy SD eResidential Facilities Healthcare Services Access Project
Updated/reviewed August 2020
  • Need: To increase local health services to rural elderly populations in long-term care facilities located in four Midwest states near a tertiary care organization.
  • Intervention: A non-profit healthcare organization implemented telehealth services to provide acute care evaluations for long-term residents in their home facilities.
  • Results: The program increased local care as evidenced by improved year-over-year provider-determined available transfer data: 33%, 50%, 63% program years 1 through 3, respectively. From the success of the initial pilot implementation, the program has further matured into a long-term care offering that now reaches many other rural facilities located in 10 states across the nation.
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

Age-Friendly and Dementia-Friendly Winnemucca and Humboldt County
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • Need: To make a rural community more inclusive for older adults.
  • Intervention: Winnemucca, Nevada, holds monthly meetings around topics like health, housing, social events, and transportation.
  • Results: So far, these meetings have led to more accessible transportation and parking. The effort went countywide in 2017.
Rural Resources Diner's Choice Program
Updated/reviewed September 2021
  • Need: Many older adults are lacking proper nutrition, due to an inability to prepare food, lack of financial resources, depression due to social isolation, or general frailty associated with aging.
  • Intervention: The Diner's Choice meal program provides 12 coupons each month to older adults for local restaurants in three rural counties in Washington.
  • Results: Older adults in Ferry, Pend Oreille, and Stevens counties receive much-needed nutrition and social interaction, leading to healthier lives.
Lakewood Engage Food Access Initiatives
Added August 2021
  • Need: Lakewood, Minnesota is classified as a food desert, where many rural families face food insecurity and low availability of both nutritious and affordable provisions.
  • Intervention: A collection of programs address food insecurity and the dietary health of members of the community, from children and families to older adults, supplying them with locally-sourced fruits, vegetables, and meat.
  • Results: Lakewood Engage conducts around 30,000 food insecurity screenings each year. Fresh produce, meat, and other goods are distributed to roughly 130 families (around 500 individuals), 200 seniors, and 70 school-aged children annually.
SMiles Senior Transportation
Updated/reviewed August 2021
  • Need: To provide transportation to rural seniors who are no longer able to drive.
  • Intervention: SMiles, a rural senior transportation program, was implemented in Blount County, Tennessee.
  • Results: Since 2013, SMiles has provided over 37,500 rides to its rural seniors.
CAPABLE (Community Aging in Place—Advancing Better Living for Elders)
Updated/reviewed July 2021
  • Need: To help older adults age in place.
  • Intervention: For five months, CAPABLE participants receive home visits from a registered nurse, occupational therapist, and home repair services.
  • Results: There are currently over 35 CAPABLE sites across the country, 8 of which are located in rural communities.
Hospital2Home
Updated/reviewed April 2021
  • Need: To prevent readmissions and improve the recovery process for older adults in rural southern Ohio.
  • Intervention: Hospital2Home identifies high-risk individuals and provides vouchers for services like personal care and home-delivered meals.
  • Results: In the four years the program has been in operation, 86.5% of participants have not readmitted to the hospital in the first two months after hospital discharge.
Right Side Up Falls Prevention
Updated/reviewed December 2020
  • Need: Falling is one of the leading causes of morbidity and mortality in adults over the age of 65.
  • Intervention: The Right Side Up program was implemented in rural Otter Tail County to address the prevention and management of falls and risk for falls through in-home assessments given by interdisciplinary healthcare professionals and students.
  • Results: Short-term outcomes revealed 100% of participants found the visit and recommendations for falls prevention to be helpful, and 78% implemented these recommendations.