Background Older adults will comprise one-quarter of the US population by 2030 and are known to suffer high rates of injuries in and around the home. Safety education and products prevent injuries but few models exist for reaching older adults. We adapted a mobile safety centre used to reach families with young children to serve older adults.
Methods We partnered with a community-based senior centre that serves low-income, urban community-dwelling older adults. We developed new curriculum modules on older adult injury prevention topics, adapted existing educational exhibits, and expanded our safety product inventory to include products relevant to the safety needs of older adults. In January 2015, we enrolled participants from the senior centre and assessed their safety knowledge, beliefs and practices. Four safety sessions were offered between February to May and in June everyone toured the mobile safety centre and completed a post-test of comparable knowledge and belief items. General feedback was also solicited from participants.
Results Teaching modules were developed on five separate topics: overview of injuries and older adults; fires, burns and scald burn injuries; poison prevention; pedestrian safety; and fall prevention. Thirty older adults enrolled in the program. Most (60%) attended all sessions; 6% attended only 2. Baseline knowledge was high (>90% correct) for smoke alarm resources, carbon monoxide (CO) sources and CO symptoms. Baseline to follow up knowledge gains occurred for proper response to a fire in the home (39% vs 73% correct) and most common cause of house fires in our area (53% to 84% correct). Beliefs and participant reactions to the sessions will also be shared.
Conclusions Because the number of older adults is increasing in the US and they are over-represented in the injury burden, we need to find effective ways to reach them. Our experience demonstrates the feasibility of adapting an existing paediatric program to also serve older adults.
- Older adults
- home safety
- community services
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