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School of Health Sciences

Academic Advising
3070 Human Health Building
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-2369

Dean's Office
Human Health Building
(248) 370-3562

School of Health Sciences

Academic Advising
3070 Human Health Building
433 Meadow Brook Road
Rochester, MI 48309-4452
(location map)
(248) 370-2369

Dean's Office
Human Health Building
(248) 370-3562

Student providing physical therapy to older person

Home-based Older Person Upstreaming Prevention Physical Therapy (HOP-UP-PT)

Committed to community health in people of all ages, the Oakland University School of Health Sciences has created the Home-based Older Person Upstreaming Prevention Physical Therapy (HOP-UP-PT) program. HOP-UP-PT is designed to provide early preventative interventions to senior citizens at risk of being homebound by facilitating partnerships between community centers and local physical therapists.

The growing health care demands of an aging population have created an urgent need to develop and examine the impact of novel preventative health care and referral models for community-dwelling older adults.

For more information: (248) 364-8695 |

The program is supported by the Michigan Health Endowment Fund. The Michigan Health Endowment Fund works to improve the health and wellness of Michigan residents and reduce the cost of healthcare, with a special focus on children and seniors.

Mission and Goals

A method that has demonstrated the ability to reduce an older person’s health, environmental and behavioral risks is the use of prevention strategies. When healthcare resources are aimed at providing preventative investments for health it can bring about cost savings with associated positive health outcomes. Evidence exists for positive impacts of focused prevention, but there has been no robust evidence to quantify the value of prevention-focused, home-based physical therapy services for those at highest risk of becoming home-bound or hospitalized with advancing age.

Evidence shows that being able to age-in-place is multifactorial and requires a holistic, cohesive approach. In addition to physical limitations, the capacity of older adults to remain safely in their home includes factors such as social support, nutrition, medication management, home safety, transportation resources, and an overall healthy lifestyle – all of which are within the scope of physical therapist (PT) practice, even though physical therapists do not consistently receive referrals for these skills.


  • Establishing partnerships between community centers and local physical therapists to provide direct referrals for preventative services
  • Leveraging the skills, knowledge of a physical therapist to provide a bridge between the local community and the medical system
  • Our long-term goal is to provide a strong body of evidence to demonstrate the value of integration of HOP-UP-PT into the standard of care for aging adults.
  • The overarching objective is to improve the health and functional outcomes of older adults participating in HOP-UP-PT after referral from community-based senior centers.
Get Involved

Donate to HOP-UP-PT
Show your support of reducing catastrophic age-related events like falls through a financial donation. Legacy donations through estate planning is welcomed as well.

Senior Citizens and Families
I am an older adult or a loved one interested in receiving preventative home-based services by a physical therapist.

Physical Therapists
I am a physical therapist interested in learning more about providing these services to my local community via Medicare Part B.

Community Service Providers
I am a community center, community health department or health care provider looking to partner with a local physical therapist to support.

Partner Organizations

  • City of Auburn Hills
  • City of Novi
  • Pittsfield Township
  • City of St. Clair Shores
  • Saline Area Senior Centers
  • Van Buren County
News and Publications

The HOP-UP-PT program has been featured in several periodicals and has been featured in a series of peer-reviewed publications in prominent medical journals. Contact us if you would like to collaborate on an article, press release, or other media.

Troy Chamber of Commerce 
Oakland University professors, Drs Sara Arena and Chris Wilson, develop 'HOP-UP-PT' physical therapy program

Oakland Press
OU to join Auburn Hills in senior physical therapy study

Oakland University
Oakland University partners with Auburn Hills Senior Services for prevention focused program 
Oakland University expands physical therapy study with Health Innovation Grant funds

Home Healthcare Now Peer Reviewed Medical Journal
Accepted for publication in March 2019

Leadership Team

Sara K. Arena PT, MS, DScPT
Dr. Arena is an Assistant Professor at Oakland University. Her teaching responsibilities include a focus on the topics of cardiopulmonary interventions and health promotion and wellness.   She also continues her clinical practice as a licensed physical therapist primarily in the home health care setting. Dr. Arena’s research efforts are focused toward cardiovascular and pulmonary examination, intervention, and practice in physical therapy and its relationship to health and wellness of individuals in the community and at home.

Christopher M. Wilson PT, DPT, DScPT
Dr. Wilson is an Assistant Professor at Oakland University. He is board certified in geriatric physical therapy. His clinical practice is in cancer physical therapy and acute care. Dr. Wilson’s research agenda focuses on palliative care physical therapy and the management of late-stage chronic illnesses. He teaches geriatrics, pharmacology, biophysical agents, and acute care in Oakland University’s Physical Therapy Program.

Karen Adcock, SDC
Karen is the Director of the Auburn Hills Senior Services Department.  Karen holds an Associate Degree in Gerontology, a Bachelor of Applied Science with a major in Health Care Administration and a minor in Sociology. She has a certificate in Aging and Disability from Boston University, is a graduate of the American Society on Aging (ASA) Leadership Program, and has over 30 years of professional experience in the field of Gerontology.

Debra Colling                                                                     
Deb Colling is the program coordinator for the HOP-UP-PT program. She is a founding member of the program and was integral in the formative stages of the program during her time as Wellness Coordinator at the Auburn Hills Community Center. She is a Rock Steady Fitness coach, yoga instructor and has experience facilitating a number of community and wellness programs.


One of the first community participants in the HOP-UP-PT program began noticing health benefits right from the start. Participant F.B., 75, wanted to have professional guidance on ways to improve his overall health, safety and balance in order to be able to continue his active, healthy lifestyle so he enrolled in the program after reading about it in the Oakland Press local newspaper.

“I enjoy things like volunteering, hunting and visiting my grandchildren. I know that I’m not getting any younger and I started realizing that I needed to start paying more attention to my health to be able to keep doing these things that I love. I don’t want any declines in my health to dictate what I can and can’t do.”

Karen Adcock, Director of the Auburn Hills Senior Services, said, “there are so many services and programs that senior centers can provide to their citizens. This has been a great collaboration to improve the health of our community members and the collaborative relationship that allows a community center to directly refer people to a physical therapist has the potential to cut down on healthcare costs, avoid unnecessary medical visits, and is another valuable service that the community center can provide.” An emphasis of this program is to reconnect the patient with the senior center after program completion to help sustain the gains that the participants made in the program.