Wednesday, 29 July 2015

How You Can Make a Staircase Senior Friendly

Being old does not mean losing mobility. In fact, the elderly are often very jealous of their independence and freedom to move where they want. However, statistics show that almost one third of people over the age of 65 and half of those over the age of 80 will trip and fall once a year. Many of these mishaps occur in staircases. If you have a senior living in your home, there are things you can do to make the stairs safer for them.

10 Ways You Can Make a Staircase Safer for  Seniors
  1. Good Lighting: Ensure the stairs are well lit. Install light switches at the top and bottom at positions convenient for an elderly person to reach.
  2. Safe steps: Make sure that there are no uneven steps, jagged edges or nails/screws sticking out of the steps that a shoe could get caught on.
  3. Safe carpets: Thick carpets  with pads make stable footing more difficult, especially for the elderly. If installed, remove them.
  4. Lightly waxed floor: Make sure the floors, specifically the ones near the stairs, are not highly waxed. Not only will this increase the chances of slipping on, but could also form a film on the underside of the shoes making them slippery and unstable.
  5. No small rugs: Do not place small rugs near the top and bottom of the stairs.
  6. No kids’ things in stairs: If there are young children in your home, ensure that toys, crayons and other play things are not left lying on the stairs.
  7. Phone upstairs: Install a phone extension upstairs so that the senior does not have to keep climbing up and down to use or answer the phone.
  8. Safe handrails: Install an easy-to grip-hand rail at a height of about 36 inches and encourage the senior to use it always.
  9. No heavy/bulky things: Ensure that the senior does not carry heavy, bulky or difficult-to-see-over items on the stairs.
  10. Use of Stair climbing cane: Consider using gadgets like the stairclimbing cane. This is a cane with a strong small plastic platform a few inches high at the base. It can bend in such an angle that it provides support while using the stair. It is placed on one step to help reduce the height to be climbed. On reaching the next step, the cane is placed on it and the process repeated.
Other Things You Can Do

A stair lift is not usually difficult to install and is very easy for the elderly to use. Most have seat belts to prevent accidental falls and a safety cut off that stops them if anything obstructs the staircase. Get a clinical checkup done to see if the senior has a condition like an inner ear infection that could cause dizziness. Also do not allow seniors who are on medication that could affect their stability from using the stairs. A senior with limited mobility will normally do exercises to control the problem. Help them pay special attention to leg and balance exercises that can make using the staircase easier and safer for the senior. Give the senior a room on the first floor and keep as many things they need as possible on that floor to reduce the amount of the use of staircase. A company specializing is staircase construction, repair and remodeling will be able to offer many suggestions of making your staircase safer for seniors.