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Grant to Support Home Safety for Older Adults

The homes of seniors in Los Angeles County are about to get safer, thanks to a grant from the Eisner Foundation that will support Home Safety Adaptations for the Elderly, or Home SAFE, led by the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence at the USC Davis School of Gerontology.

Nearly half a million older persons in Los Angeles County have some type of disability and live in housing with barriers and hazards that compromise their health, lead to falls and unnecessary accidents, resulting in costly hospital stays and relocation to more institutional settings.

Falls by seniors, almost 80 percent of which occur in and near homes, are the leading cause of injury-related hospitalizations in the county. In 2007, falls resulted in 18,900 hospitalizations of seniors, averaging $50,000 per admittance.

“The Eisner Foundation’s dedication to providing lasting change in the lives of L.A.’s older residents continues with their funding of Home SAFE,” said Jon Pynoos, the director of Home SAFE. “A safe home environment enables older adults to remain in their homes as long as possible – the number one preference of older Americans.”

Home safety practices include the elimination of hazards (throw rugs, clutter in pathways), environmental adaptations (grab bars, better lighting), fire protection measures and healthy home strategies (carbon monoxide detectors, clean furnace and air filters). To improve the condition of homes occupied by older adults, Home SAFE will provide materials to educate staff and clients alike at housing, health care and aging sector agencies across the county.

Home SAFE’s mission is to make safety a more integral component of successful aging and preventive health in L.A. County by increasing activities and awareness among consumers, professionals, organizations and communities.

To achieve this mission, the organization will identify gaps, challenges and opportunities in L.A. County with a community needs assessment; raise consumer awareness of home safety interventions with multi-language fact sheets; and increase the implementation of home safety strategies by organizations and professionals through “Home Safety in Your Community: A Toolkit for Change,” which will be distributed via Home SAFE’s advisory committee and the Internet.

Home SAFE will work with local groups that have a stake in safe environments for older persons, such as the City and County Area Agencies on Aging, Rebuilding Together, the Public Health Department Office of Senior Health, the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation and the Fall Prevention Coalition – Los Angeles, which is funded by the Kaiser Foundation.

For additional information, contact Emily Nabors at (213) 740-1364 or emily.nabors@usc.edu

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