June 25, 2008
Contact: Nancy Thompson, AARP, 202-434-2560, firstname.lastname@example.org
“AARP welcomes today’s CDC report as a badly needed alarm warning families to find and remove hazards that cause falls in the home.
“Falls are the leading cause of death from injuries among older persons and the death rate from falls continues to climb. Each year, one in three Americans age 65 and older fall and almost a third of them need medical treatment as a result.
“One approach to avoiding falls is to remove obvious household hazards and add or improve simple safety features in the home.”
AARP recommends the following 10 steps to make home a safer and more comfortable place:
• Install handrails on both sides of all steps (inside and outside);
• Secure all carpets and area rugs with double-sided tape;
• Install easy to grasp shaped handles for all drawers and cabinet doors;
• Use brighter bulbs in all settings;
• Install nightlights in all areas of night activity;
• Add reflective, non-slip tape on all non-carpeted stairs;
• Install lever handles for all doors;
• Place a bench near entrances for setting down purchases and resting;
• Install closet lights, as well as adjustable rods and shelves;
• Install rocker light switches; consider illuminated ones in select areas.
Background: Studies indicate that half of all falls happen at home and research suggests that one-third of home accidents can be prevented by easy home updates and preventative maintenance. Low lighting, stairs with no handrails, loose area rugs, entrances with many steps, are just a few features that make staying in one’s home more difficult.
Local hardware stores carry many of the products to make simple updates to homes. For more extensive renovations, homeowners should consider hiring a contractor who is licensed, certified and bonded to do work in that particular location. A Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) is a professional designation signaling that contractors have had specified additional training, but homeowners should still ask for documentation that the contractor is licensed or certified and bonded.
AARP offers a wealth of information to guide homeowners in retrofitting and updating their home. To learn more about home design and how to evaluate your home and community, visit www.aarp.org/homedesign. To get a copy of AARP’s publication, Home Modification: Your Key to Comfort, Safety and Independent Living and Modificaciones hogarenas: Su clave para el confort, la seguridad y la vida independiente, call 1-888-OUR-AARP and mention the publication number D18524.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; ARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, http://www.aarp.org/. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.