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Public Opinion Survey Shows Americans Value Fall Prevention Measures

The Home Safety Council conducted an online opinion research survey of more than 1,000 registered voters from across the U.S. to gauge their interest in and opinion about injury prevention measures, especially related to falls among older Americans.

Highlights include:

Nearly half of all Americans surveyed (47%) are unaware that falls are the leading cause of unintentional home injury deaths

  • Older Americans over age 45 (70%) are substantially more aware than younger Americans under age 45 (40%)
  • Awareness is highest in the South (63%) and West (59%)

More than 8 in 10 (80%) of Americans say they are unaware that home injuries account for 21 million medical visits and cost $387 billion annually

  • Older Americans over age 45 (26%) are most likely to be aware of the medical and financial impact of home injuries, whereas only 16% of younger Americans under age 45 are aware
Home Safety - Aware home injuries accoiount for 21M medical visits and cost $387B annually

4 in 10 Americans (41%) report a family member has been injured by a fall in the home

  • Women (46%) more frequently say a family member has been injured in a home fall compared to men (35%)
  • Americans in Northern (51%) and Southern (47%) states more frequently say a family member has been injured in a home fall
Home Safety - Who sustained the fall

Among Americans stating a family member has been injured by a home fall, more than half (54%) say an adult 18-65 was injured

  • However, a majority of men (52%) and Americans over age 45 (53%) say it an older adult age 65+ was injured

More than 1/3 of Americans (36%) took none of the major steps last year to reduce falls in the home

The three actions Americans took most often last year to reduce falls in the home were

  • 43% Added nightlights in rooms and hallways
  • 39% Cleared walkways and floors of clutter and cords
  • 32% Installed non-slip mats and decals in bathrooms

The three actions Americans took least often last year to reduce falls in the home were

  • 14% Added dual-tape, rug liners and non-skid backing to area rugs
  • 15% Installed grab bars in the bathroom
  • 17% Added lighting at the top and bottom of stairs

More than 8 in 10 Americans (84%) say injury prevention research is valuable:

Home Safety - Percieved value of injury prevention research

Nearly 3/4 (71%) believe Medicare should support fall prevention activities for seniors

Over 2/3 (68%) argue Medicare should fund simple, effective home injury prevention tools for seniors, such as grab bars

  • Women (77%) are substantially more in favor of this Medicare support than men (59%)
  • Younger Americans under age 45 (74%) are more supportive of this Medicare funding of home injury prevention tools than older Americans over age 45 (62%)

2/3 of Americans (65%) agree that the federal government should fund injury prevention research for seniors

  • Nearly 6 in 10 Americans (56%) say the stance of their Members of Congress on injury prevention research is important

More than 8 in 10 Americans surveyed say they voted in the 2004 election

  • 96% of older Americans over age 45 surveyed say they voted
  • 89% of Americans living in the South and West say they voted

About the Survey

The purpose of the research was to garner a reasonable sense of the depth of voter knowledge, perceptions and preferences about home safety issues and initiatives. This data has been used to engage elected officials in discussion of home safety as a public policy issue, raise awareness, and act as a catalyst for stimulating more in-depth, expansive, detailed and ongoing research.

The survey was conducted among 1,125 randomly sampled registered voters from across the U.S. For analysis, results were weighted to generally conform to U.S. 2000 census demographics for age, gender and geography/region of residence, and we estimate that the survey results have approximately a +/- 3% margin of error at 95% confidence for the total sample of 1,000 registered voters.

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