SURPRISE, ARIZ., July 14, 2016 – Wilber and Eva Smith, both 88, feel rooted in their Peoria house where they’ve lived for 19 years.
“It’s comfortable, we have nice neighbors and we’re close to places we like,” Wilber said.
Those reasons played heavily in the Smith’s decision to become members of Sun Health at Home (SHAH), a continuing care at home program operated by nonprofit Sun Health.
Since its January launch, SHAH has grown to 11 members with a dozen prospective members currently in the application process. The program enables people 55 and older to “age in place” in their own homes with a secure plan to provide for their medical and nonmedical needs in the future.
“The community response has been amazing,” said Terri Cluff, executive director of SHAH. “People see the true value of the program and realize the importance of planning for their future while they are healthy and independent.”
A continuing care at home (CCAH) program is a regulated insurance product that offers the same kinds of services found in a traditional continuing care retirement community (CCRC). The difference is that CCAH members receive services in their own homes versus a community.
Sun Health at Home, is one of 30 similar programs in the U.S. and the first CCAH program in the entire Southwest. It’s part of Sun Health’s umbrella of services for seniors, comprised of three life care senior living communities, multiple health and wellness programs and a foundation that supports local medical centers and other health care causes.
People who choose to “age in place,” often have to navigate a patchwork of services on their own to get what they need. SHAH staff members do the navigating for them.
“The heart of our program is the wellness coordinators,” said Jennifer Drago, Sun Health executive vice president of Population Health. “They get to know each member; learning their likes, dislikes and their goals, and they become their health adviser and personal advocate.”
Wellness coordinators conduct annual functional and safety assessments in members’ homes, arrange for medical and nonmedical services and look out for members’ general well-being , especially if there are no family members or adult children nearby to fill that role. Assistance may range from simple tasks – such as changing light bulbs, or installing grab bars in bathrooms and showers – to arranging in-home health care.
SHAH applicants must meet medical and financial criteria to become members. Once accepted, they pay a one-time membership fee as well as monthly service fees based on age and the plan selected.
Wilber Smith was a banker for most of his life so he made sure he examined the program from top to bottom before signing on the dotted line.
“We don’t need help now but we have had some health issues in the past and we believe this is a wise choice for us,” Wilbur said. “Now, we’re covered, so to speak.”
Cluff and her team have added more discovery seminars to accommodate the growing number of West Valley residents interested in the program.
To learn more or to sign up for a discovery seminar, go to sunhealthathome.org or call 623-227-HOME (4663).
About Sun Health
A long-standing champion of healthy living and superior health care, Sun Health is a community-based nonprofit providing pathways to population health through philanthropy, senior living programs and communities, and community wellness programs and services. Sun Health Senior Living includes three Life Care communities: (Grandview Terrace in Sun City West, La Loma Village in Litchfield Park and The Colonnade in Sun City Grand/Surprise) and Sun Health at Home, the first “continuing care at home” program in the Southwest.
Learn more at sunhealth.org.