Fritzi Gros-Daillon in Washington DC:
The Aging in America 2016 Conference was sponsored by American Society on Aging and supported by a wide array of foundations and corporations. Keynotes, general sessions and workshops were happening for four days in Washington DC. The sheer quantity of information was staggering and I hope to share insights from the national and personal perspective with Age Safe America Members over the next couple months.
In one session, Susan Hawfield, VP of Affiliate Services for Rebuilding Together, made several salient points that are poignant reminders of the importance of the services Age Safe America Members offer. Our assessment and recommendations will empower individuals to take the steps, even one modification or new light at a time, to reduce the risk of falls. Everything from weatherization to accessibility, there are important changes that we can make to help reduce the risks of falls and improve quality of life for millions of older adults and families.
Considering the lifetime cost of a broken hip is approximately $65,000, our comprehensive home safety assessment was developed primarily for the 1 in 3 over age the of 65 who will in fact fall this year and is a critical component of the national conversation about aging in place. Another notable statistic is that even though the AARP says that 90% of older adults say they want to age in place, 80% of homeowners have done nothing to prepare for longer life in their homes.
There was another interesting concept introduced to the audience by Kathleen Kirchner of Accessible Home Associates. She said that the concept of universal design was well-founded but we need to think in terms of individualized design.
We need to use the universal design principles but remember the wants, needs and preferences of our clients in developing the best solutions.
This is just the beginning, but gives us food for thought as home safety and fall prevention are leading the way to more comprehensive understanding of the breadth of issues.