Homeowner Considers Consequences of Falling

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Leona Bishop, 74, tripped and fell down the stairs from her bedroom to her living room. Sore and bruised, but not injured, she began to consider the consequences of falling to her health and independence.  A short time later, she slipped while stepping into her bathtub—avoiding injury once again, but now beginning to grow fearful. So when she heard about CICOA’s Safe at Home event, sponsored by United Home Healthcare, she was eager to participate.

“It’s an experience I will never forget,” she said.

Safe at Home is an annual high-impact, half-day of service to low-income homeowners age 60 and over to help make their homes and yards safe and accessible for daily living. Safe at Home coincides with Fall Prevention Awareness Week, nationally recognized during the first week of fall.

On Sept. 20, more than 200 volunteers turned out to make simple home modifications on 16 homes in the North East Community. Projects included installing grab bars in bathrooms, adding or securing handrails on stairs, changing light bulbs, and clearing weeds, shrubbery and debris from walkways and porches. Volunteers also planted mums for the homeowners.

While volunteers worked inside and out, a registered occupational therapist and occupational therapy assistants from Brown Mackie College performed a fall prevention assessment with Bishop.

“They really opened my eyes to hazards in my home—things I wasn’t aware of,” she said. “I had never thought about installing grab bars in my bathroom. But now I can’t imagine not having them.”

“My mother is 93 and has fallen many times, usually when she is doing something she’s not supposed to be doing,” Bishop added. “I’m trying to stay as healthy as I can, because I need to look after her. I also have a lot of older friends that I check in on, as well as baby sitting.  I want to stay on my feet so I can take care of others,” she said.

While volunteers were busy working in the community, CICOA concurrently hosted a Flu + You event in partnership with the National Council on Aging and Sanofi Pasteur. The purpose of the Flu + You event was to raise awareness about influenza and the importance of flu prevention. In Marion County during the 2013-14 flu season, only 55 percent of Medicare beneficiaries 65 years of age and older were vaccinated against the flu.

Safe at Home was presented by United Home Healthcare. Additional sponsors include the National Council on Aging, American Senior Communities, Unique Home Solutions, Indiana University Health (IU Health Plans and IU Health Trauma Services), Community Health Network, Sterler Productions and Individual Support Services, Inc. Community partners include United Northeast Community Development Corporation, Brown Mackie College, Lowe’s, Flu + You, and Walgreens.



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