The Importance of a Living in Place Inspection for Senior Safety
Here are some important statistics that illustrate why homes where seniors dwell should be inspected on a regular basis.
The aging population is increasing. Every month over 380,000 Americans turn 50 and by 2030 one in four Americans will be over age 65. From 2015 to 2035, the number of those over age 80 will have doubled from 12 to 24 million.
Approximately 90% of seniors want to stay in their homes i.e. 'Age in Place'. 80% of seniors have no plans to sell their home. Surveys show that 82% of seniors prefer to stay in their homes even if they need daily assistance or continual health care. Just a small percentage (9%) of seniors would rather move to a nursing home or assisted living. Only 4% of seniors are interested in moving in with a relative.
Most homes are not designed to accommodate seniors. A mere 1% of homes have zero-step entrances to the home, single floor living, wide hallways and doors, electrical controls reachable from a wheelchair, and lever style handles on faucets and doors.
Population surveys show that a significant portion of the population has disabilities requiring modifications to the home: 56.7 million non-institutionalized individuals (18.7% of the population) have varying abilities that affect their daily activities; 38.3 million individuals (12.6%) have a severe disability.
Statistics show that falls are the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries in older adults. Homes need to be inspected for fall hazards, since every year one out of three individuals over 65 will fall. Unfortunately, only one in four will report their fall. 60% of all falls occur at home and are the leading cause of hospitalization. In 2012, 2.4 million non-fatal fall injuries among older adults were treated in emergency departments and more than 30% of these patients were hospitalized. It is estimated that annual direct medical costs associated with falls in the United States is over 30 billion. In addition, falls account for 87% of all bone fractures for ages 65 and older, and after a fall at home only 28% are able to return to their own home. People age 75 and older who fall are 4 to 5 times more likely than those age 65 to 74 to be admitted to a long-term care facility for a year or longer.
The statistics plainly show the extreme necessity for creating a safe home environment for seniors!