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Spotlight on Innovation: Safe at Home Program

We're highlighting the cutting-edge programs and successful strategies of our 2017 Aging Innovation Award Winners with this spotlight feature. This week we shine a spotlight on District of Columbia Office on Aging (DCOA), winner in the Home and Community-Based Services category.

In January 2016, DCOA launched Safe at Home (SAH), a small-dollar, gap-filling program designed to provide preventative adaptations to reduce fall risks among qualifying seniors and people with disabilities, many of whom live in old homes with steep stairs and upper-level bathrooms. In consultation with the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, DCOA developed the SAH program in reponse to hospital emergency room reports showing that falls are the leading injury impacting DC residents 65 and older. SAH works to provide home modification services to the  seniors who are ineligible for other DC home modification programs because of income and low repair level needs.

The project originally served 100 clients, funding contractual services for preventative adaptations and installations of up to $10,000 for handrails, grab bars, bathtub cuts, shower seats and chairlifts. For FY 2017, preventative adaptations will be funded up to $6,000 for more than 1,000 clients, and more expensive projects will be referred to the city's Department of Housing and Community Development.

In FY 2016, the program received 1,503 referrals and ultimately enrolled 513 clients. Since October 2016, SAH has completed 595 in-home adaptation projects. To date, SAH receives up to 200 referrals per month for services and the program continues to be a talking point in the community amongst satisfied seniors and caregivers.

To learn more about this year's winners, read our press release and check out our book of winners!

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