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Nearly Half of Senior Home Accidents are Preventable, ER Doctor Survey Says

By Dr. Judith Black

Nearly 20 million seniors ages 65 and older visit the emergency room each year with almost one third of the visits related to injuries*, many of which are sustained in the place seniors are meant to feel the safest: their home. In fact, 65 percent of senior homes have at least one potential safety issue, according to adult children of seniors surveyed by Home Instead, Inc., franchisor of the Home Instead Senior Care® network. However, almost half of all home accidents by seniors (48 percent) can be avoided according to a recent survey of emergency room doctors.**

These preventable home hazards, such as throw rugs or loose railings, can be particularly harmful, leading to falls and injuries that can impact seniors' ability to live independently. However, the majority of seniors (85 percent) haven't taken any steps to prepare their homes for their changing needs as they grow older.

Senior home safety experts recommend that adult children of seniors take at least one day each year to perform a thorough safety check of their parents' home. To help families accomplish this goal and help seniors reduce the risk of injury in their own homes, the Home Instead Senior Care offices serving the Greater Pittsburgh area are offering a free home safety checklist, an online safety assessment and recommendations for inexpensive modifications that could ensure the safety of older loved ones as part of the organization's Making Home Safer for Seniors program.

An annual safety check can help seniors avoid dangers that could threaten their independence. By using the checklists and online tools, families can see these red flags they wouldn't otherwise notice. Typically, the "red flag" problem areas are relatively easy and affordable fixes—and they could be the difference between a trip to the emergency room and staying safe at home.

To request a free home safety checklist and other materials, call your local Home Instead Senior Care office at 1-866-996-1087 or visit www.makinghomesaferforseniors.com or www.homeinstead.com/greaterpittsburgh.

* Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
** Survey Methodology In the United States, Home Instead, Inc. network completed 600 telephone interviews with seniors age 65 and older, and 600 telephone interviews with adult children who have parents age 65 or older. The sampling error for each population is +/-4.0% at a 95% confidence level. Home Instead, Inc. also conducted five-minute telephone interviews with 100 emergency room physicians randomly selected from throughout the United States.

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