By Kamala Kirk
Falls are the leading cause of injuries in older Americans, according to the National Council on Aging. Not only do falls threaten a person’s safety and independence, but they can also result in costly medical care.
After Deena Goldstein’s father fell following lung surgery, she and her husband, Sandy, a physical therapist, started Airpark-based MEASURAbilities Home Safety in 2013 to help create safer home environments.
“More and more of our population is aging in place, and fall prevention home safety is critical,” Deena says.
“We noticed a gap in discharge planning where people were being sent home from rehab or the hospital, but nobody was addressing their home environments. People had wheelchairs that were wider than the doorway entrance or walkers that were too wide for the bathroom. This resulted in many repeat falls that would send people back to the hospital, often resulting in more serious issues, including hip fractures, bone breaks and traumatic brain injuries. When my late father was discharged from the hospital with a walker, no one showed him how to use it and he fell when he was at home. This kind of thing doesn’t need to happen. Intervention is prevention.”
MEASURAbilities Home Safety specializes in clinically guided fall prevention home safety solutions to ensure that everyone, from seniors to people with disabilities, are able to live confidently and safely in their homes. After meeting with patients, their family and care team at a hospital, rehab or other facility to discuss their individual needs for when they return home, a physical or occupational therapist from MEASURAbilities’ team is sent to the home to perform a free safety assessment.
“We take a look at the areas that are being reported as concerns by clinicians and family, then our therapist makes clinically guided recommendations,” Deena explains.
“We provide and install everything they need to create a fully accessible home, from safety bars and ramps to a nonslip surface treatment for floors and even full accessibility remodels. A lot of the time we have the house taken care of before a person is even discharged. We are licensed, bonded and insured.”
Deena and Sandy often go into homes and have to remove misplaced safety bars and other items that have been ordered online and installed in the wrong places by handymen.
“A safety grab bar is not an end-all or one size fits all,” she points out. “Every person’s requirements are different, and when an item is incorrectly installed, it can put a person at an even greater risk for falling or injury.”
One of their most popular offerings is the nonslip treatment, which adds friction by creating a nonvisible etching beneath the surface of floors, tubs and showers. There is no visible change to the appearance of a surface that has been treated, but when the area gets wet there is increased traction, which decreases one’s risk of falling.
“Bathrooms are the No. 1 place where falls occur in a home, and often people lose confidence in their ability to be around water,” Deena says.
“Research shows that if they’re more guarded and fearful, their risk of falling can actually increase. Our nonslip treatment is very quick to apply, and we’ve done a lot of pool areas, as well as group homes, hotel bathtubs and restaurants, where floors are slippery. The nonslip treatment is also popular in kitchens, where there tends to be a lot of water as well.”
For clients with more extensive needs, MEASURAbilities Home Safety also does complete home remodels and works with a team of contractors and designers. Recently, the team gutted and customized a home for a wheelchair-dependent client. Working in partnership with R4 Residential, they spent more than six months transforming the entire home to make it more accessible. Updates included the addition of automatic doors, a ceiling lift, ramps, a barrier-free bathroom, drop-down cabinets and appliances.
“Now she can enjoy the independence of being able to do things like open a cabinet in her kitchen without any trouble,” Deena says. “It was the most touching and moving experience.”
Because its employees are considered essential workers, MEASURAbilities Home Safety has continued to provide its services throughout COVID-19. It has been following all of the recommended CDC guidelines to ensure the ongoing safety of its clients and staff.
“Home safety doesn’t rest because of a pandemic,” Deena says. “People are spending more time at home than ever, so we need to make sure that their homes are as safe as possible. We want to keep our geriatric population from returning to the hospital.”
The company also prides itself on being compassionate and friendly, in addition to having a quick response time. It always follows up with clients right after the initial assessment to let them know the outcome of the visit and make sure they have access to all the information they need.
MEASURAbilities Home Safety also provides community outreach and education regarding the company’s unique functional workplace testing and fall prevention home modification services. The educational events are free and open to the community.
“We’re passionate about what we do, and we get to work with so many wonderful people,” Deena says. “Especially during these current times, with so many difficult things going on, it’s such a good feeling to help people through challenging situations. They go from being scared at first to comfortable once they know they’re safe, which is really heartwarming. Every time is like the first time, and we never take it for granted.” ν
8147 E. Evans Road, Suite 8,