One in eight adults ages 65 and older suffers a fall every year, and since more than 40 million seniors are in their own homes, many of these accidents occur there.
Even among seniors who are relatively healthy and agile, falling is the most common cause of traumatic brain injury and the leading cause of injury death. The cost is upward of $30 billion a year.
To help prevent such accidents, UB researchers and occupational therapists have created and are disseminating the Home Safety Self-Assessment Tool (HSSAT), which offers specific information about ways to prevent falls among individuals age 65 and older.
The assessment tool is available on several senior health-related websites, including http://agingresearch.buffalo.edu; once on the homepage, go to the Home Safety Self-Assessment Tool tab on the left. The tool contains seven sections:
• A home safety self-assessment checklist, which helps find and correct potential hazards.
• Assistive devices and helpful products that can prevent falls.
• A list of home-modification service providers in Erie County.
• A list of other local resources that provide free services related to home modification.
• Tips for fall prevention,
• Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) instructions for home environment.
• An action log to help keep track of the house hazard-removal processes.
The tool was developed by the Occupational Therapy Geriatric Group.