Aging Orange County: Supervisor Andrew Do proposes “Safe Homes for OC Seniors” Program

Low-income seniors in Orange County could get a vital lifeline to make critical home safety repairs, under a proposal by Supervisor Andrew Do.

The Safe Homes for OC Seniors program would provide home improvement grants to low-income seniors in Orange County’s unincorporated communities. Supervisor Do said that the program will help Orange County seniors make critical home improvements, stay safely in their homes, and prevent debilitating injuries.

“The cost of home safety repairs is out of reach for far too many seniors,” said Supervisor Do, who represents Orange County’s First District. “Many seniors live on fixed incomes and can’t afford to spend hundreds, let alone thousands of dollars on home repairs. The Safe Homes for OC Seniors program will help OC seniors remain safely in their homes.”

The Orange County Board of Supervisors approved Do’s policy proposal, at its meeting on Tuesday, July 16, and will consider funding options in the coming months.

Falls: 1 in 4 Older People Fall Every Year

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, slip and falls are a common and serious problem for older people – those aged 65 and older.

  • 3 million older people are treated in emergency rooms for fall injuries every year.
  • More than 800,000 patients are hospitalized ever year after a fall.
  • 1 in 5 falls causes a serious injury, such as broken bones or a head injury.

“Seniors want to remain independent and stay in their homes, and we can help them do that,” Supervisor Do said.

In addition to strength exercises and monitoring medications, home improvements are a common way to prevent falls in the home. For example, older adults can benefit from grab bars in the shower and near the toilet. Additional railings can help provide support for climbing stairs. Even additional lighting and brighter bulbs can help minimize the number of falls in the home.

Seniors Fastest Growing Demographic in Orange County

Supervisor Do said he developed the “Safe Homes for OC Seniors” Program to meet the needs of Orange County’s aging population. Approximately 15 percent of OC residents are over the age of 65 – a figure that’s projected to nearly double to 26 percent over the next two decades.

“As the senior population grows exponentially, so do the health care needs they experience,” said Jim McAleer, the President and CEO of Alzheimer’s Orange County. “Our agency is in complete support of this program. It will change lives.”

Seniors are OC’s fastest growing demographic group, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, and experts warn “the growing silver tsunami could be even worse than forecast.”

According to a 2019 report by the Orange County Strategic Plan for Aging, “Currently, Orange County is not in a position to provide adequate support and care to meet the needs and challenges of this inevitably growing aging population.”

Learn More: Aging Orange County

This article was released by the Office of Supervisor Andrew Do.