Home-based programs that include occupational and physical therapy and advise seniors about household changes can help increase longevity and improve their quality of life, according to a new study.

Researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia tracked elderly participants who still lived at home but faced minor physical challenges, such as bending to pick something up or getting in and out of the bathtub. Half of the seniors were placed in an intervention group where they met with a physical therapist at least once and an occupational therapist, both at home and over the phone, about five times. The other participants received no additional treatment.

The physical therapist addressed participants’ fear of falling and evaluated their balance. The occupational therapist inquired about tasks the seniors had difficulty performing and then discussed ways they could accomplish these tasks and conserve energy while doing them.

Those in the intervention group reported fewer difficulties with daily tasks and a higher quality of life.

Researchers concluded that the intervention program provided “physical, social and psychological benefits” for participating seniors and decreased their mortality rate by almost half for 3.5 years.