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Community Engagement for Disability and Aging Research (CEDAR) Midwest

Summer 2022

CEDAR Midwest is a Disability and ´╗┐Rehabilitation Research Project funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research. This research project is exploring the participation needs of people aging with a physical disability and how community organizations can best meet those needs.

Project Updates

Community-Based Research Network

The Missouri Aging and Disability Research Network (MADRN) summer 2022 meeting was on August 9. Members discussed project updates and brainstormed ideas for future webinars.

Rachel Heeb, of Washington University, also presented findings from interviews she held with a subset of participants in our longitudinal cohort study.

Infographic highlighting findings on environmental factors and community participation. Click for full infographic.

MADRN members noted that many of the built environment factors cohort study participants described were also impacting their clients, including barriers like physical inaccessibility and attitudes of others. Some participants described difficulty getting in and out of the house as a barrier to participation in the community. MADRN members also noted this connection between home and community participation for many of the individuals they serve.

MADRN Member Spotlight: Disability Resource Association


Our featured member organization this quarter is Disability Resource Association, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year! 


During the summer MARDN meeting, assistant Director Nancy Pope introduced members to this Independent Living Center located in Festus, Mo. The mission of Disability Resource Association is to empower people with disabilities, older adults and people in need. To that end, they provide information and referral services, peer mentoring, advocacy, independent living services, transition services and more to residents of Jefferson County.


Learn more about Disability Resource Association!

Upcoming Events


November 15: Next MADRN meeting


MADRN will be hosting webinars on home modifications and social isolation. Stay tuned for more details!

Longitudinal Cohort Study

We are continuing to look at changes in the health and participation of people aging with long-term physical disabilities over the course of three years, as well as exploring the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic for participants.

COVID-19: Factors Predicting Depressive Symptoms in People Aging with Long-Term Physical Disabilities. Authors: Szu-Wei Chen, Susan Rice, Katelyn Storey, Marian Keglovits, Megen Devine, Yan Yan, and Susan Stark. OTJR: Occupation, Participation and Health 1-8.

Our latest publication based on the cohort study explored factors associated with symptoms of depression during the onset of the pandemic. We found that anxiety, loneliness, financial stress, a prior diagnosis of depression, and non-Black race all predicted higher levels of depressive symptoms, with anxiety being the strongest predictor. A summary of this paper is also available.

Testing the Efficacy of the REBIL Intervention

We developed Removing Environmental Barriers to Independent Living (REBIL), an intervention to promote participation for people aging with long-term disabilities through home modification, education and fall prevention (more information on the development of REBIL is available on our website). We are continuing to test REBIL in a randomized waitlist controlled trial. The first group to receive REBIL will be finished in the fall. We are now switching the last few participants in the control group into the intervention condition. 


Some of the common things participants have have described becoming more difficult as they age have included showering safely, getting in and out of the home (e.g., steps, lack of hand support), and completing basic home activities like cooking and cleaning up. 

What We've Been Up To...

OT Summit

CEDAR Midwest team members Szu-Wei Chen and Rachel Heeb attended the Occupational Therapy Summit of Scholars, which was held in Madison, Wis., from June 16-18.


Szu-Wei gave an oral presentation on loneliness, social isolation, and leisure participation for people aging with long-term physical disability, and Rachel presented a poster on her study of the influence of environmental factors on community participation. 

What's Coming

ACRM Chicago 2022 Logo

ACRM Conference


CEDAR Midwest researcher Rachel Heeb will present at the ACRM Annual Conference in Chicago November 8-11. This year, Rachel will present a poster on a qualitative study of physical activity participation based on interviews with people aging with long-term physical disabilities.

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For technical assistance with any part of this project, including information, resources and data, please call 

314-289-4270 or email us at cedarmidwest@paraquad.org.

Find out more at cedarmidwest.org.

The contents of this newsletter were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DPCCP00001-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL or HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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