Un Paso a la Vez (“One Step at a Time”) is a new program in South Texas that uses Community Health Workers (CHWs) to help low-income, older Hispanic adults maintain independence with dignity.
As part of the program, CHWs visit participants at their homes to identify their needs and create an action plan that involves their family and larger community with the goal of supporting participants to remain in their homes with the appropriate support.
Program Director Moises Arjona says the program is able to keep older adults engaged in their communities while maximizing their available public benefits. As such, he hired a team of two CHWs who perform outreach for the program door-to-door, at community events, food pantries, shelters and clinics.
In addition, CHWs refer participants to health and human service organizations, and they can even coordinate with program partner Habitat for Humanity of the RGV to perform home modifications that reduce physical barriers that limit independent living.
Moises says many of the participants CHWs have already encountered need home repairs such as these.
“We’re going to use our partnership to get participants bathroom bars, detachable showerheads and other items,” he said.
Moises says education around Internet use is also a need for this population.
“A lot of our participants didn’t know that they could log in to Medicare.gov and see their policies online,” said Moises, who has trained his staff to help participants get enrolled on the website.
The CHWs also offer group health education and physical activity classes to participants.
“We’re hoping that once we provide them with the resources to understand how to exercise and build relationships with other people in their community,” said Moises, “they will become more physically and socially active.”