Determination and Grit
The idea for Safe at Home stemmed from Tori’s realization that many of her OT clients could not afford to implement the recommended home safety modifications. Tori spent over six years advocating for Safe at Home. She joined local advocacy groups, created and led the DC Falls Free Coalition, met with council members and agency heads, and testified at hearings. The Department of Aging and Community Living provided Home Care Partners with a small grant to see what they could accomplish. Tori, along with two other occupational therapists, performed home safety assessments and educated the agency about the needs of DC residents. Tori’s work and determination paid off when Home Care Partners received $3.5 million (USD) to officially launch the Safe at Home program. In addition, the DC Council and the mayor approved the Safe at Home Act of 2015, establishing a home accessibility modification grant program.
Since its start in January 2016, Safe at Home has completed over 5,000 evaluations. Data has revealed an over 50% reduction in SAFER Home Safety Assessment scores, indicating a reduction in home safety hazards, and an over 47% reduction in Falls Efficacy Scale scores, indicating a decreased fear of falling by clients evaluated by occupational therapists through this program. Safe at Home is a vital program to help older adults and adults with disabilities live safely in their home environments.