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Background

In January, 2010, the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence, headquartered at the University of Southern California Andrus Gerontology Center, began Home Safety Adaptations for the Elderly (Home SAFE), a project funded by The Eisner FoundationNearly half a million older persons in Los Angeles (LA) County have some type of disability and live in housing with barriers and hazards that compromise their health, contribute to falls and unnecessary accidents, and frequently  result in costly hospital stays and relocation to more institutional settings.

Home SAFE’s mission is to make home safety a more integral component of successful aging and preventive health in LA County by increasing activities and awareness among consumers, professionals, organizations and the wider community.  The project’s home safety focus areas include:

  • Fall prevention (e.g., elimination of hazards such as throw rugs, clutter in pathways),
  • Home modification (e.g., environmental adaptations such as grab bars, better lighting),
  • Fire protection measures (e.g., smoke alarms and escape plans), and
  • Healthy home strategies (e.g., carbon monoxide detectors, clean furnace and air filters).

Home Safety in Your Community: A Toolkit for Change was developed to raise professional and organizational awareness of home safety and increase the implementation of home safety strategies by agencies, organizations and professionals.  The following activities were conducted as part of the Toolkit development process:

  • community needs assessment of senior centers, mayoral offices, hospitals and rehabilitation centers, home health agencies, In-Home Supportive Services offices, and Rebuilding Together affiliates to identify home safety activities, challenges, and opportunities in LA County
  • Four focus groups of older persons in their primary languages (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean) to assess their awareness and challenges related to home safety
  • The creation of a Home SAFE Advisory Committee of professionals with expertise in home safety issues and who represent organizations that are well positioned to increase home safety awareness and activities (see below)

“Home Safety in Your Community: A Toolkit for Change” Contents

The Toolkit’s ready-made resources, designed for immediate reproduction and dissemination, can be used in program planning, advocacy, and education.  It is divided into two sections:

Resources for Consumers

Multi-language (English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean) consumer-friendly fact sheets for older persons that illustrate home safety strategies and how to obtain resources and assistance for four topics:

English

Spanish

Chinese

Korean

Resources for Professionals

Home safety strategies, models, and resources that are designed to support current and new home safety efforts by agencies and organizations that work with older adults.

Home SAFE worked with the following local and national groups who have a stake in safe environments for older persons

Advisory Committee Members

  • Anna Avdalyan, Human Services Administrator II, Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging, Community and Senior Services
  • Cy Baumann, Treasurer, Rebuilding Together Southern California Council
  • David Gooler, Program Coordinator, Rebuilding Together Pasadena
  • Kym Hall, Home Safety Coordinator, Motion Picture and Television Fund
  • Dior Hildebrand, Chief, Policy, Community Liaison & Outreach, Chronic Disease Division, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Office of Senior Health
  • Elizabeth Jimenez, Home Secure Program Director, Mexican American Opportunity Foundation
  • Angela Mickalide, Director of Education and Outreach, Home Safety Council
  • Angelica Molina, Physical Therapist, Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center
  • Obi Ogamba, Environmental Health Manager, Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Environmental Health
  • Ron Price, Division Chief, In Home Supportive Services Division, Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services
  • Brenda Sapp-Pradia, Program Manager, Los Angeles County Area Agency on Aging, Community and Senior Services
  • Rickey Sewell, Firefighter/Paramedic, Los Angeles County Fire Department
  • Roland Sprewell, Fire Captain, Los Angeles County Fire Department

Translators

  • Spanish: Mexican American Opportunity Foundation
  • Korean: PALS for Health and Inha Son
  • Chinese: PALS for Health and May Ng

Fall Prevention Center of Excellence Home SAFE Personnel

  • Jon Pynoos, Program Director
  • Julie Overton, Training and Resource Development Specialist
  • Greg Misiaszek, Program Manager
  • Emily Nabors, Program Coordinator and Evaluator