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CAPABLE Program Transforms Lives: Patty Higgins Finds Renewed Independence and Dignity Through Comprehensive Support

February 1, 2024 by Joseph Rios0

For more than four decades, 65-year-old Patty Higgins has built her life in the Colorado Springs area, residing in the same house where she raised her now-adult daughter.

In the midst of her longstanding connection to her Colorado Springs home, Higgins found herself facing challenges due to health issues, including back surgeries, severe balance problems, and the aftermath of a serious neck surgery.

“I had fallen a few times and broken bones, but a fall I had in the shower was really bad,” said Higgins. It was during this challenging time that she discovered the CAPABLE Program through Brothers Redevelopment.

Higgins initially sought assistance for a simple grab bar installation in her shower but soon discovered that CAPABLE offered much more. Through an ad she encountered, Higgins connected with Brothers Redevelopment and was introduced to the comprehensive services provided by CAPABLE. The program, designed in collaboration with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance and the CAPABLE National Center at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, focuses on empowering individuals to “age in place” or “age in community.”

CAPABLE engages participants through a series of 10 visits over four to six months, led by an occupational therapist, a registered nurse, and a maintenance technician. The unique aspect of CAPABLE lies in participant-driven goal setting, ensuring that each individual actively shapes their journey toward increased mobility, function, and capacity to live independently.

Motivated by the desire for a grab bar in her shower, Higgins became an active participant in CAPABLE. Beyond her initial goal, the program addressed various aspects of her life, including safety measures, pain management, and overall well-being. Higgins expressed gratitude for the compassionate and respectful approach of the CAPABLE team.

“It didn’t feel like somebody is coming into your home. I never thought I’d find myself in need, and to have to have people come into my home,” she said. “It was so great because they respected my space and understood where I’m coming from with things. Instead of telling me what to do, they asked me a bunch of questions, and we worked together really well as a team.”

Higgins set mobility and pain management goals, such as finding effective ways to manage pain through heat. The program facilitated practical solutions tailored to her needs, including the installation of grab bars, a blood pressure cuff, and other assistive technologies like an electric kettle upstairs near her bedroom, so that she can avoid using stairs.

CAPABLE has significantly impacted Higgins’ life, allowing her to move around her house with ease. The new tools provided through the program have not only enhanced her physical well-being but also lifted her spirits.

“They really benefited my spirit and made me feel worthy. It gave me some dignity,” said Higgins. “The assistance technology was perfect, and it was in line with my life.”

As we strive to empower individuals to age in place, the CAPABLE Program has consistently demonstrated its effectiveness.

In a survey with 23 program participants, clients were asked to rate various aspects of their general pain on a scale of one to five. On average, a significant improvement was observed, with participants’ pain perception scores decreasing from an average of 17.61 (pre-program participation) to 12.39 (post-program participation).

Furthermore, clients demonstrated enhanced confidence in fall efficacy, which measures the perceived self-efficacy to perform daily activities without falling. This confidence increased from 71.91 to 80.61 after completing the program, with 100 being the maximum confidence score attainable.

Additionally, CAPABLE participants exhibited improvements in the area of depression. Using the PHQ-8 scale, a valid diagnostic and severity measure for depressive disorders in large clinical studies, our team found a notable reduction in clients’ depression rates by more than one point.

Brothers Redevelopment offers the CAPABLE Program to Coloradans living within south Colorado Springs, Park, Teller, Pueblo, and El Paso County. Those interested in participating in the service can find more information at

“I was at a real hard time in my life when I was introduced to CAPABLE, because I felt defeated. It was hard to accept there were certain things that would never change — but this program made me feel more capable to manage all that,” said Higgins. “I hope people pay attention to this, and I bet there will be a lot of results like me.”

For News and Media Contact:

Joseph Rios


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