Home hazards assessment among elderly in South Texas colonias Academic Article uri icon


  • The purpose of this pilot study was to assess safety hazards in the homes of older Mexican Americans living in underserved low-income neighborhoods known as colonias in a Texas-Mexico border area. This was a cross-sectional, non-randomized exploratory study with a sample of 60 Mexican American families with an older relative living at home 50 years of age and older. Certified promotoras (community health workers) conducted face-to-face interviews and used a direct observation assessment tool. The majority of households with an older person (63.3%) did not have smoke detectors or fire extinguishers (80%). The number of home hazards was presented in seven categories and the associated hazards items ranged from 2 to 6 for each category. More than one-third of homes with an older person (36.6%) had one to three home hazards and 24.9% from four to 6 hazard items. Unsafe characteristics of the households included hazardous floors (slippery surfaces (27.6%) and loose mats (26.2%) and bathrooms (no grab rails (64.9%), no slip resistant mats (52.6%), and having toilets not being close to the bedroom (19%). The study results suggest that many older border Mexican Americans are living in potentially hazardous household environments in the colonias. This population is at risk of unintentional injuries due to inadequate home safety practices. Home safety education initiatives are critical to empower this vulnerable population in improving the safety of their homes.

published proceedings

  • Texas Public Health Journal

author list (cited authors)

  • Carrillo Zuniga, G., Mier, N., Seol, Y. H., Villarreal, E., Garza, N. I., & Zuniga, M.

complete list of authors

  • Carrillo Zuniga, G||Mier, N||Seol, YH||Villarreal, E||Garza, NI||Zuniga, M

publication date

  • January 2011