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Posted 04.27.06

MU 'Aging in Place' Advocate Wins Lifetime Achievement Award from Gerontological Nursing Association

MU Nursing Researcher Wins Lifetime Achievement Award for Older Adult Care

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Getting older can sometimes mean moving around. Older adults may have to give up the comfort of their own homes to move into senior housing and then, possibly, assisted living. This is what University of Missouri-Columbia nursing researcher Marilyn Rantz calls the "slippery slope" that leads people to assisted living, nursing homes and eventually the hospital.

Marilyn Rantz."Consumers say they never want to go to a nursing home. I have never met anyone in a nursing home who says he or she really wants to be there." said Rantz, professor in MU's Sinclair School of Nursing. "I think there is a better way to do this."

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"Aging in Place," according to Rantz, is a new concept in long-term care that keeps people off the "slippery slope" and in their own homes with high quality care. Rantz is director of TigerPlace, one of four Aging in Place pilot sites in Missouri. TigerPlace consists of more than 30 various-sized apartments with access to on-site fitness, meals, medical care, personal care services, wellness programs and more. The goals of TigerPlace include helping people stay healthier and active longer to avoid hospitalization and the need for relocation to a nursing home.

"Aging in Place provides services that people need in the privacy of their own homes while focusing on maintaining function and abilities until the end of life. In most cases, with this type of care, people wouldn't need a nursing home," Rantz said.

The Aging in Place initiative has postponed or prevented nursing home admission for more than 250 older adults, according to Rantz. The participants walked better, were less depressed, had better short-term memory and experienced less pain than their counterparts in nursing homes.

Rantz's work recently earned her the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Gerontological Nursing Association. This award is intended to recognize individuals whose contributions and accomplishments have had significant national or international impact on the care of older adults. This annual award is the highest honor the association bestows on one of its members.

Rantz presented her Aging in Place study as the keynote address at the most recent annual convention of the National Gerontological Nursing Association in Myrtle Beach, SC. An overview of the research program is currently being published in the Western Journal of Nursing Research.



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