Abstract

OBJECTIVE. Homelessness prematurely ages people. A large subgroup of formerly homeless adults between ages 40 and 64 yr have health conditions similar to or worse than people categorized as elderly. Little is known about the impact of this group’s chronic health conditions on their ability to safely function in supportive housing.

METHOD. Home safety visits were carried out with 25 formerly homeless adults, ages 40–64 yr, now residing in supportive housing.

RESULTS. Participants had physical, cognitive, and mental health problems that significantly interfered with their ability to perform daily life skills, safely function in an apartment, and manage chronic health conditions. Home safety hazards included cluttered walking paths, the presence of steps, and the lack of grab bars and nonskid flooring.

CONCLUSION. The homeless population would benefit from aging specialists, such as occupational therapists, who could help people to maintain and function more safely in their homes. Without such services, this population may be at risk for home safety events leading to hospitalization and mortality.

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