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Breaking Down Silos to Improve the Health of Older Adults: The Case for Medicare to Cover Home Safety Renovations

Richard K. Green, Patricia F. Harris, Anthony W. Orlando
The ageing population is increasing the financial strain on the United States health care system, and society may be underinvesting in the place-based determinants of elderly health. The leading cause of injury for older Americans is falls in the home, resulting in more deaths than any other injury, as well as a significant portion of Medicare spending. While medical interventions have yielded mixed results, home safety renovations have been shown to be a cost-effective strategy to enable senior citizens to “age in place” safely, with the health care savings outweighing the upfront investment. Conservative projections demonstrate that Medicare can undertake this investment in home safety renovations with less than 2 percent of its budget, while breaking down the silos that unnecessarily encircle health and housing.