Rogue Valley, Oregon – As we grow older our housing needs tend to change. Perhaps we don’t get around as easily as we used to, or simple maintenance tasks around the house grow daunting and unmanageable.
Research shows that elderly who remain in their own homes enjoy a higher quality of life than if they have to move, and since 2013 Rebuilding Together Rogue Valley (RBTRV) has focused some of its work on helping Oregonians age safely at home.
Fall prevention is a big focus of RBTRV. Each year, more than 800,000 seniors are hospitalized after a fall that may cause broken bones or a traumatic brain injury.
To help prevent some of these falls, RBTRV has started Grandma’s Porch Fund – a program that helps low-income seniors stay safely in their homes. Seniors are referred from local hospitals and agencies, and Grandma’s Porch Fund then comes out and does a free safety assessment.
Four main areas are covered by the assessment: accessibility to and from the home; trip hazards in and around the home; bathroom safety and home environment safety.
The 45-minute assessments are provided by the National Association of Home Builders Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists or by carefully trained volunteers.
On the list of checkpoints is the safety of the bathroom: are there grab bars in place and are they installed correctly? Is it easy to get in and out of the shower? Are the floor mats more of a trip hazard than a sturdy foundation for wet feet?
The assessment also checks furnace filters and fire- and CO detectors to make sure they are in working order.
On a typical year, Grandma’s Porch Fund installs almost 300 grab bars and repairs dozens of porches, ramps and steps for improved accessibility, and fund thousands of dollars of in-home safety equipment like working smoke detectors. A grant from the Avista Foundation will help continue this important work.
The best part is that Grandma’s Porch Fund will pick up a big part of the cost of any safety improvements that have to be done. Funded by donations from individuals and corporations, Grandma’s Porch Fund will pay for smaller home improvements and safety updates, giving the resident senior much needed peace of mind.
At Avista, we recognize our unique position gives us the chance to contribute in an impactful way and make a real difference in people's lives. Since 2002, the Avista Foundation has made grants totaling over $12 million to organizations that support vulnerable and limited income populations, education, and economic and cultural vitality. For more information on grant applications and geographical areas covered, please visit avistafoundation.com.