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Community project to offer seniors free home evaluations





Good Samaritan Society of Hays is planning a project to help make home a little safer for several area residents.

Applications are available for home evaluations, which will be conducted free of charge by the agency's physical therapists. The objective is to identify environmental factors that could increase the risk of seniors falling, said Steve Dinkel, a member of the Hays Good Samaritan Society advisory committee.

"We need to keep people in their homes longer," Dinkel said. "It could be as simple as a grab-bar in the bathroom, but it might be as complicated as, 'This bathroom doesn't work. You're going to have to replace a fixture.'

"A lot of people may have the resources to do what they need to do, but they just don't know what they need to do."

The home evaluations will be complimentary, thanks to a grant from the corporate office to commemorate the agency's anniversary. Homeowners will be responsible for the cost of making any recommended changes.

Applications are available at Hays Good Samaritan Society, 2700 Canal, or by calling (785) 625-7331. Applicants must be at least 65 and live in Ellis County.

Among seniors, falls are a leading cause for both nursing home and hospital admissions, said Kathy Moravek, director of Good Samaritan Garden Terrace Apartments in Hays.

It's estimated more than 33 percent of seniors older than 65 will fall each year, and that number rises to 50 percent above age 80.

"Falls account for a huge amount of folks who are even being admitted to a hospital," Moravek said. "It's not just our setting, but it's our whole community."

This is the first year for the local founder's day campaign. There will be sufficient funds for three homes this year, and other applicants will be put on a waiting list for the next round of funding, she said.

Applications must be submitted by Sept. 29.