Home Safety Council(R) Research Reveals Safety Insights of Those Caring for an Older Adult

National Survey Finds Home Safety Issues a Difficult Subject to Approach

With Older Adults



Jun 06, 2006, 01:00 ET from Home Safety Council

    WASHINGTON, June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- New research commissioned by
 national nonprofit Home Safety Council and conducted by Harris
 Interactive(R) found that many caregivers have difficulty discussing
 critical home safety issues with older adults -- a situation that may be
 placing an already high-injury age group at even greater risk.
     These findings are a result of a new Home Safety Council survey,
 released as part of the Council's Home Safety Month campaign launching in
 June. The survey, which was commissioned to better understand caregiver
 home safety perceptions, attitudes and behaviors when caring for an older
 adult, polled adults currently providing care for a relative, in-law or
 friend who is 60 years or older.
     The study findings point to a difficulty in communications about this
 topic, with half of caregivers (49 percent) citing that injury prevention
 is at least somewhat hard to talk about with the person they care for.
 Also, of the one in two caregivers who admit there are additional actions
 that could be taken to make the home of the person they were caring for
 safer, 26 percent said that they worry about the reaction of the older
 adult as a primary reason for not taking these actions.
     "Each year more than 7,000 older adults die from incidents at home
 including falls, fires/burns and poisonings, which are almost entirely
 avoidable with proper education and some simple home modifications," said
 Dr. Angela Mickalide, Director of Education and Outreach of the Home Safety
 Council. "As our population ages, more and more adults will need
 assistance. It is critical that caregivers have meaningful discussions with
 those that they care for and help fix potential home dangers to keep loved
 ones safe in and around their homes."
     Additional findings suggest a substantial home safety awareness gap
 among caregivers. Many believe that their elder's home provides a safe
 environment, even though 48 percent also report that the person they care
 for has been injured within the home. Many of the reported injuries were
 serious, requiring an emergency room or hospital visit (40 percent) or
 hospital stay (21 percent).
     "While safety can be a sensitive topic as we age, caregivers cannot
 ignore the fact that a home injury can be a life-altering experience, not
 only for those injured but for those who care for them," said Home Safety
 Council president Meri-K Appy. "Basic home safety precautions can keep all
 family members safe and ultimately ensure more older adults continue to
 live independently for as long as possible in the home they love."
     Home Safety Tips for Older Adults and their Caregivers
     The Home Safety Council advises caregivers to apply the same safety
 practices in their own homes first so that safety improvements are not
 considered a consequence of aging. The same precautions that can help keep
 older adults safe in and around their homes can protect the entire family.
 In response to the key survey findings that show many critical safety
 precautions are missing in many homes of older adults, the Home Safety
 Council offers the following safety tips that caregivers can follow in
 their own homes, and share with their loved ones.
     Falls Prevention:
     Key Findings: Nearly two in five (38 percent) caregivers surveyed
 reported that their loved one had experienced a fall at home. The survey
 also found that many critical falls prevention precautions are missing from
 many homes, including handrails on both sides of any stairway (62 percent),
 rugs secured by non-slip backing or adhesive tape (64 percent) and grab
 bars in the bath or shower (32 percent).
     Safety Tips:
 
     * Protect stairs and steps with a secure banister or hand-rail on each
       side that extends the full length of the stairs.
 
     * Keep all stairways, paths and walkways well lit.
 
     * Install grab bars in bath and shower stalls, and use a non-slip mat or
       adhesive safety strips inside bathtubs and showers.
 
     Home Fire Safety:
     Key Findings: While the new HSC survey found that most of the homes of
 older recipients of care have working smoke alarms (86 percent), only one
 in three caregivers (35 percent) said their loved ones had a home fire
 escape plan.
     Safety Tips:
 
     * Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.
       When possible, choose alarms that use wireless technology or are hard-
       wired to the electrical system to make them interconnected (when one
       alarm goes off, they all do).  Consider installing a home fire sprinkler
       system if you build or remodel a home.
 
     * Develop a fire escape plan for your family that identifies two exits out
       of every room, who will provide assistance to children and others who
       will need help, and where to meet outside. Practice makes perfect --
       hold a fire drill at least twice each year with every member of your
       household.
 
     * Keep your water heater setting at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
 
     Poison Prevention:
     Key Findings: Nearly one in 10 caregivers reported that their loved one
 had experienced a poisoning incident at home, most frequently from taking
 the wrong type of medication (8 percent). However, about half (48 percent)
 report that important emergency numbers, including the Poison Control
 Hotline number are posted next to every phone. Also, only two in five (38
 percent) report having a carbon monoxide detector installed in their home.
     Safety Tips:
 
     * Use a medications tracker and always follow medication dosages closely.
 
     * Post emergency numbers next to every phone in your home, including the
       Poison Control Hotline number (1-800-222-1222).
 
     * Install at least one carbon monoxide (CO) detector near sleeping areas.
     For more information on ways to avoid injuries and protect loved ones
 in and around your home, please visit http://www.homesafetycouncil.org.
     Survey Methodology
     This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of
 the Home Safety Council among 2,231 adults (aged 18 and over) within the
 United States between April 11 and 13, 2006. The sample included 354
 caregivers of a relative, in-law or friend 60 years or older, of whom 266
 provided care to someone who did not live with them. Data were weighted to
 be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of
 region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity.
 Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents'
 propensity to be online.
     With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is
 possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not
 other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure
 probability sample of 2,231 adults one could say with a ninety-five percent
 probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2
 percentage points. However that does not take other sources of error into
 account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and
 therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
     About Home Safety Council
     The Home Safety Council (HSC) is the only national nonprofit
 organization solely dedicated to preventing home related injuries that
 result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average
 each year. Through national programs, partnerships and the support of
 volunteers, HSC educates people of all ages to be safer in and around their
 homes. The Home Safety Council is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
 located in Washington, DC.
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive, the 13th largest and fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world, provides clients with research-driven insights
 and strategic advice to help them make more confident decisions, leading to
 measurable and enduring improvements in performance.
     Widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering online market
 research methods, Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its
 United States (http://www.harrisinteractive.com), Europe
 (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/europe), and Asia offices and is
 supported by its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris (http://www.novatris.com)
 in Paris and an independent global network of affiliate market research
 companies. Harris Interactive is headquartered in Rochester, New York, and
 Europe operations are based in London.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in online surveys, go to http://www.harrispollonline.com. EOE
 M/F/D/V
     Contact: Shannon McDaniel
               Brand Resources Group, Inc.
               703-739-8341
 
 

SOURCE Home Safety Council
    WASHINGTON, June 6 /PRNewswire/ -- New research commissioned by
 national nonprofit Home Safety Council and conducted by Harris
 Interactive(R) found that many caregivers have difficulty discussing
 critical home safety issues with older adults -- a situation that may be
 placing an already high-injury age group at even greater risk.
     These findings are a result of a new Home Safety Council survey,
 released as part of the Council's Home Safety Month campaign launching in
 June. The survey, which was commissioned to better understand caregiver
 home safety perceptions, attitudes and behaviors when caring for an older
 adult, polled adults currently providing care for a relative, in-law or
 friend who is 60 years or older.
     The study findings point to a difficulty in communications about this
 topic, with half of caregivers (49 percent) citing that injury prevention
 is at least somewhat hard to talk about with the person they care for.
 Also, of the one in two caregivers who admit there are additional actions
 that could be taken to make the home of the person they were caring for
 safer, 26 percent said that they worry about the reaction of the older
 adult as a primary reason for not taking these actions.
     "Each year more than 7,000 older adults die from incidents at home
 including falls, fires/burns and poisonings, which are almost entirely
 avoidable with proper education and some simple home modifications," said
 Dr. Angela Mickalide, Director of Education and Outreach of the Home Safety
 Council. "As our population ages, more and more adults will need
 assistance. It is critical that caregivers have meaningful discussions with
 those that they care for and help fix potential home dangers to keep loved
 ones safe in and around their homes."
     Additional findings suggest a substantial home safety awareness gap
 among caregivers. Many believe that their elder's home provides a safe
 environment, even though 48 percent also report that the person they care
 for has been injured within the home. Many of the reported injuries were
 serious, requiring an emergency room or hospital visit (40 percent) or
 hospital stay (21 percent).
     "While safety can be a sensitive topic as we age, caregivers cannot
 ignore the fact that a home injury can be a life-altering experience, not
 only for those injured but for those who care for them," said Home Safety
 Council president Meri-K Appy. "Basic home safety precautions can keep all
 family members safe and ultimately ensure more older adults continue to
 live independently for as long as possible in the home they love."
     Home Safety Tips for Older Adults and their Caregivers
     The Home Safety Council advises caregivers to apply the same safety
 practices in their own homes first so that safety improvements are not
 considered a consequence of aging. The same precautions that can help keep
 older adults safe in and around their homes can protect the entire family.
 In response to the key survey findings that show many critical safety
 precautions are missing in many homes of older adults, the Home Safety
 Council offers the following safety tips that caregivers can follow in
 their own homes, and share with their loved ones.
     Falls Prevention:
     Key Findings: Nearly two in five (38 percent) caregivers surveyed
 reported that their loved one had experienced a fall at home. The survey
 also found that many critical falls prevention precautions are missing from
 many homes, including handrails on both sides of any stairway (62 percent),
 rugs secured by non-slip backing or adhesive tape (64 percent) and grab
 bars in the bath or shower (32 percent).
     Safety Tips:
 
     * Protect stairs and steps with a secure banister or hand-rail on each
       side that extends the full length of the stairs.
 
     * Keep all stairways, paths and walkways well lit.
 
     * Install grab bars in bath and shower stalls, and use a non-slip mat or
       adhesive safety strips inside bathtubs and showers.
 
     Home Fire Safety:
     Key Findings: While the new HSC survey found that most of the homes of
 older recipients of care have working smoke alarms (86 percent), only one
 in three caregivers (35 percent) said their loved ones had a home fire
 escape plan.
     Safety Tips:
 
     * Install smoke alarms on every level of your home and test them monthly.
       When possible, choose alarms that use wireless technology or are hard-
       wired to the electrical system to make them interconnected (when one
       alarm goes off, they all do).  Consider installing a home fire sprinkler
       system if you build or remodel a home.
 
     * Develop a fire escape plan for your family that identifies two exits out
       of every room, who will provide assistance to children and others who
       will need help, and where to meet outside. Practice makes perfect --
       hold a fire drill at least twice each year with every member of your
       household.
 
     * Keep your water heater setting at 120 degrees Fahrenheit or less.
 
     Poison Prevention:
     Key Findings: Nearly one in 10 caregivers reported that their loved one
 had experienced a poisoning incident at home, most frequently from taking
 the wrong type of medication (8 percent). However, about half (48 percent)
 report that important emergency numbers, including the Poison Control
 Hotline number are posted next to every phone. Also, only two in five (38
 percent) report having a carbon monoxide detector installed in their home.
     Safety Tips:
 
     * Use a medications tracker and always follow medication dosages closely.
 
     * Post emergency numbers next to every phone in your home, including the
       Poison Control Hotline number (1-800-222-1222).
 
     * Install at least one carbon monoxide (CO) detector near sleeping areas.
     For more information on ways to avoid injuries and protect loved ones
 in and around your home, please visit http://www.homesafetycouncil.org.
     Survey Methodology
     This survey was conducted online by Harris Interactive(R) on behalf of
 the Home Safety Council among 2,231 adults (aged 18 and over) within the
 United States between April 11 and 13, 2006. The sample included 354
 caregivers of a relative, in-law or friend 60 years or older, of whom 266
 provided care to someone who did not live with them. Data were weighted to
 be representative of the total U.S. adult population on the basis of
 region, age within gender, education, household income, and race/ethnicity.
 Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents'
 propensity to be online.
     With pure probability samples, with 100 percent response rates, it is
 possible to calculate the probability that the sampling error (but not
 other sources of error) is not greater than some number. With a pure
 probability sample of 2,231 adults one could say with a ninety-five percent
 probability that the overall results have a sampling error of +/- 2
 percentage points. However that does not take other sources of error into
 account. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and
 therefore no theoretical sampling error can be calculated.
     About Home Safety Council
     The Home Safety Council (HSC) is the only national nonprofit
 organization solely dedicated to preventing home related injuries that
 result in nearly 20,000 deaths and 21 million medical visits on average
 each year. Through national programs, partnerships and the support of
 volunteers, HSC educates people of all ages to be safer in and around their
 homes. The Home Safety Council is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization
 located in Washington, DC.
     About Harris Interactive(R)
     Harris Interactive, the 13th largest and fastest-growing market
 research firm in the world, provides clients with research-driven insights
 and strategic advice to help them make more confident decisions, leading to
 measurable and enduring improvements in performance.
     Widely known for The Harris Poll(R) and for pioneering online market
 research methods, Harris Interactive serves clients worldwide through its
 United States (http://www.harrisinteractive.com), Europe
 (http://www.harrisinteractive.com/europe), and Asia offices and is
 supported by its wholly-owned subsidiary Novatris (http://www.novatris.com)
 in Paris and an independent global network of affiliate market research
 companies. Harris Interactive is headquartered in Rochester, New York, and
 Europe operations are based in London.
     To become a member of the Harris Poll Online(SM) and be invited to
 participate in online surveys, go to http://www.harrispollonline.com. EOE
 M/F/D/V
     Contact: Shannon McDaniel
               Brand Resources Group, Inc.
               703-739-8341
 
 SOURCE Home Safety Council