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Falls Among Older Persons and the Role of the Home: An Analysis of Cost, Incidence, and Potential Savings from Home Modification

Falls led to emergency room visits for an estimated 1.8 million Americans age 65 or older in 2000, and falls are the leading cause of death from injuries among older persons. One approach to reducing falls is modifying homes in order to eliminate or abate common hazards for frail persons. In this AARP Public Policy Institute Issue Brief, Andrew Kochera uses sensitivity analysis (an exercise which explores how conclusions change when the initial assumptions are allowed to vary) to explore financial challenges that home modification programs designed to prevent falls would need to address if the goal is to reduce the cost of falls. The purpose of this paper, which reviews the literature on the effectiveness of such programs, is to provide guidance for future research on costs and benefits, and to illustrate the role of home modification in efforts to reduce the cost of fall injuries. (14 pages)

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