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Community Based Initiatives

Healthy Homes for Elders

Studies show that asthma is under-diagnosed among senior citizens and that asthma-related morbidity and mortality among the elderly is increasing. The goal of this study is to measure the effectiveness of providing the elderly in Lowell public housing with interventions such as educational materials, mattress and pillow covers, green cleaning supplies, HEPA vacuum cleaners and pest control items to improve health and reduce medical costs. The researchers will collect health data – symptoms, medication use, emergency room visits – on approximately 90 senior citizens with asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease before any interventions. After conducting a home environmental assessment that includes testing dust samples, measuring nitrogen dioxide and evaluating cigarette smoke exposure, the research team will recommend improvements to residents. After one year, the team will evaluate the impact of the interventions on indoor air quality, asthma trigger activities, respiratory health and quality of life.