As people age, mobility can decrease, making navigating areas in the home, such as staircases, tough. If an elderly person falls, they are at much more risk for broken bones and serious injury than someone younger, and if they live alone, this can be especially dangerous. It’s estimated that one in four people over the age of 65 falls each year, which is an alarming statistic.
However, there are some stairs safety tips for seniors to help ensure that stairs are safer for your loved one to navigate. There are also modifications you can make to reduce risk even further. Read on to learn about stair safety tips for seniors and how you can help promote safety in the home.
Stairs Safety Tips for Seniors: The Most Important Safety Concerns
Some safety tips for stairs that stand out from the rest should be your first concern as you make sure the stairs are safe.
Some of the things you should think about first when it comes to stairs safety tips for seniors are:
- Handrails. Make sure that there are handrails on both sides of the stairwell, not just one. Also, make sure that the rails are tightly secure. With regular use, handrails can become loose over time and may need to be re-secured. There also needs to be grasping space on the railings too.
- Lights. There should be light switches at both the top and the bottom of the staircase. This is so the person using the stairs can easily illuminate the hallway whether they are going up or down the stairs.
- Tread. If your loved one has hardwood stairs or another type of smooth surface, you should have tread put down on each step to minimize the risk of falling.
- A clear path. There should be nothing at the bottom or the top of the stairs contributing to a fall. This includes items such as loose rugs.
These are the first things to think about, but there are other ways to promote staircase safety.
Stairs Safety Tips for Seniors: Other Ideas for Stair Safety
You can do some other things to promote stairway safety, but these stair safety tips for seniors may require more modification.
For example, if the staircase has a landing, or you’re able to add a landing to the staircase, you can add a resting spot. This gives the person a moment to rest and take a break in the middle of the staircase. Here, you would add a small bench or comfortable chair to rest for a few moments.
When it comes to stairs safety tips for seniors, mobility is often the first thing on everyone’s mind, but vision deficiencies are also equally important. For example, it may be hard for a person with compromised depth perception to see where one step ends, and another begins. For this reason, it may be a good idea to paint the stairs in contrasting colors so that it’s easier to navigate each step.
You can also adjust the rise of each step so that smaller steps need to be taken, not larger ones. Another idea is to reduce the number of trips on the stairway, requiring a downstairs bedroom and bathroom available.
Stairs Safety Tips for Seniors: Adding a Stair Lift
Another idea when it comes to modification is the addition of a stair lift. This is a wise idea, especially for those who live alone and have trouble navigating stairs. Stair lifts are easy to install and use and are very safe.
Some models work for every type of stairway—both curved and straight, and they can be positioned so that visiting guests can still walk up the stairway normally. There are also outdoor stairlifts, if entry into the home is a worry. If falling is a concern that’s high on the list, a stair lift is highly recommended.
For more information on stairs safety tips for seniors, stair lifts, or other mobility products that can be life-changing, such as a portable wheelchair ramp, contact us at Williams Lift Co. today. We want both caregivers and their loved ones to live their best lives possible.