Home Safety First Priority in Fall PreventionAllegany County Home Safety Self-Assessment Program Available
Each year, one in every three adults age 65 and older falls. Falls can cause moderate to severe injuries, such as hip fractures and head traumas, and can increase the risk of early death. Six out of ten falls happen in the home are often preventable. Yet, home hazards are easy to overlook, but just as easy to fix. That is why the Allegany County Livability by Design Committee and the Allegany County Fall Prevention Collaborative have teamed up with the Allegany County United Way to offer the new Home safety Self-Assessment Program.
“Due to the high percentage of county residents who fall in the home, the local Fall Prevention Collaborative, in conjunction with the Allegany County Livability by Design Committee, acquired funding through the Allegany County United Way to train local professionals in the Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) program,” explained Melissa Williams, Project Coordinator at the Allegany/Western Steuben Rural Health Network, Inc.
“Local CAPS trained professionals are available to visit those 60 years of age or older and assist with a home safety self-assessment. Using a Home Safety Self-Assessment tool developed by the University of Buffalo, seniors will learn how to evaluate their home for fall risks. The CAPS trained professionals will help the individual create an Action Plan to determine how they can improve their safety and stay independent in their own home,” continued Williams.
Fall prevention strategies can range from making simple changes to living areas to making home modifications for aging in place. CAPS is a proven strategy sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Remodelers—in collaboration with the AARP, NAHB Research Center and NAHB 50+ Housing Council— developed to provide participants with a comprehensive, practical, approach to working with caregivers and older adults when remodeling their homes for aging in place or considering repairs and modifications to stay safe.
“There are many opportunities to revitalize one’s home for safety and comfort including no-cost or low-cost options. Information and referrals to financial supports and home modification services will be available for those needing assistance in completing their Action Plan,” stated Williams. “Making your home safe and accessible is one way to maintain independence and age in place. We welcome the chance to assist older adults with a home safety assessment.”
In addition, home safety activities are scheduled throughout the year. One event was held on Saturday, May 5, 2012, at North Main Lumber, Wellsville, NY. Community members from across Allegany County attended the First Annual Mother’s Day Home Safety Event from 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m. “Hands-on demonstrations and displays allowed participants to learn about home safety and universal design principals,” continued Williams. “Each participant built a raised flower bed and learned about home modification ideas and ways to improve accessibility. Accidents in the home can have long-term debilitating effects on the older adults. You certainly don’t want a preventable mishap to hinder your loved one’s health, happiness and independence.”
For further information or to make an appointment for a Home Safety Assessment, please contact New York Connects- Allegany County at 585-268-9390 or toll-free at 1-866-268-9390.