Changing Lives with Home Safe Home
Keeping seniors living at home longer, more comfortably, and independently is the core mission of MPTF’s Home Safe Home program, which provides free home safety evaluations and free or low-cost modifications for homes. And at the heart of this valuable program are two of the MPTF’s most determined and resourceful project coordinators, Kym Hall and Holly Spiegel.
Most of the Home Safe Home program clients are referred by social workers, doctors, family, or fellow industry members. The majority is over the age of 65, and some have disabilities. Their homes range from houses, apartments, condominiums, and mobile homes to assisted living facilities. Anyone in the entertainment industry qualifies for an assessment; family members of those in the industry also qualify.
Energetic on a grand scale, Spiegel’s background is in architecture and design– so it’s natural for her to assess environmental spaces as well as their inherent livability and functionality. She’s been a part of Home Safe Home since 2010.
She explains that during an assessment she works her way front to back through the property looking to make suggestions both inside and outside of the home. “I work from the mailbox at the curb all the way to the backyard wall,” Spiegel says. She’s looking for myriad safety issues, from the need for handrails in bathtubs to loose rugs that might cause a fall, to nightlights, exterior ramps, and walkways.
“Most importantly, we serve as advocates,” says Hall. Even when Home Safe Home cannot directly address a client’s needs, the program can still help. “I’m extra tenacious and creative in finding solutions and equipment as well as reaching out and finding resources, wherever they may be,” echoes Spiegel.
Home Safe Home doesn’t only address physical safety issues. As older adults approach some cognitive decline, they begin to cocoon, says Spiegel. “We can break them out of that. A revamped living situation can encourage them to have visitors, which creates an opportunity for socialization.” Something as simple as brighter lighting can greatly improve a client’s psychological outlook.
Client lifestyles and professional history also figure in assessments. One client, an animator, could no longer sit at a desk due to physical limitations. Spiegel helped track down a table that could sit in his bed, and his ability to draw comfortably was restored. It was a small modification that changed his emotional well being immensely.
At the time of MPTF’s own 95th anniversary in 2016, Home Safe Home had already passed its own benchmark: the program successfully completed its 1,000th home assessment. MPTF’s new Home Safe Home van also improves the speed and efficiency in which clients can get assistance, with Hall and Spiegel often seen behind the wheel.
“At the end of the day,” says Hall, “I go home and I feel like I have changed someone’s life. We’re about changing people’s lives; it’s that simple.”
The Latest From MPTF
Lillian Michelson has helped guide some of the brightest filmmakers through her work as a hollywood archivist and librarian. She's a certifiable behind-the-scenes legend and calls MPTF home. Watch Lillian's story, performed by Alessandro Nivola...read more
The Samuel Goldwyn Children's Center embraces the busy work schedules of entertainment industry professionals and serves as a reminder of the long legacy of Goldwyns supporting MPTF and its mission. Watch the children's center story, performed by Samuel Goldwyn's...read more
By Eric Lichtenfeld Many of the people you’ll find in Hollywood or on our campus began their careers with a dream, but MPTF’s Tiffany Lawrence has one that’s a little different: to be a probation officer. However, after working in the juvenile justice system for three...read more