About Us

This web site  is provided to you as a service of the Fall Prevention Center of Excellence (FPCE), a project of the University of Southern California (USC) Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. Visit the USC Leonard Davis School Admissions site for more information on USC’s Degree Programs in Gerontology.

What is Home Modification?  Home modification refers to converting or adapting the environment in order to make performing tasks easier, reduce accidents, and support independent living. Home modification, ranging from low-cost to more expensive adaptations, includes removing hazards (e.g., clutter, throw rugs), adding special features or assistive devices (e.g., grab bars, ramps), moving furnishings, changing where activities occur (e.g., sleeping on the first instead of second floor) and renovations (e.g., installing a roll-in shower). In some cases, modifying the home may also require repairs such as improved wiring to eliminate the need for dangerous extension cords or fixing loose stair treads.

What is the role of home modification in fall prevention?  The addition of supportive features can help reduce accidents such as falls, a leading cause of death for older Americans. Six out of 10 falls occur in homes which typically contain a high prevalence of hazards such as loose throw rugs, the lack of tub/shower grab bars, and obstructed pathways. Home modifications can reduce the demands of the environment while making the home safer and more supportive. Research indicates that the most effective interventions to prevent falls for persons at moderate to high risk of falls are multi-factorial, and include environmental modifications, medication management and physical activity.

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FPCE USC Faculty and Staff

Pinchas Cohen

Pinchas Cohen, MD

Dean, USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Maria Henke

Maria Henke, MA

Senior Associate Dean
Julie Overton

Julie Overton, MSG, MHA

Senior Learning and Development Specialist
Jon Pynoos

Jon Pynoos, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus
Leon Watts

Leon Watts III, MAG

Training and Resource Development Specialist

Program Subject Matter Experts

Catia Garell

Catia Garell MA, OTR, SCEM, ECHM

Aaron Hagedorn


Carin Wong, PhD

The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence

The Fall Prevention Center of Excellence is a university-based, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting aging in place and independent living for persons of all ages and abilities.

Provide training and education to develop and support skilled, educated and networked professionals who can respond to the increasing demand for home modification services.

Act as an information clearinghouse on home modification to equip professionals and consumers with a comprehensive inventory of resources.