Stairs can be dangerous for your elderly loved one, particularly if they’re already at risk for falling. It’s essential that you take stock of your loved one’s stairs and check for potential safety problems.
4 Ways to Make Stairs Safer & Easier for Seniors
Here are some ideas that can make their stairs safer than ever.
1. Install and Check Handrails
If your loved one’s stairs have an existing handrail, check it for stability. There should be no movement at all if you lean on the rail. It has to be able to support your loved one if they need to reach out and grab it when going up or down the stairs. Some stairs, especially shorter stairways, may not have a rail installed. Whenever possible, add a sturdy handrail even if there are only a couple of steps. That way your loved one has something to reach out for if they should happen to fall.
2. Look for Tread Options
Wooden stairs are beautiful, but they can also be slick and easy to slide off of. Look for non-slip tread options that you can add. You might want to carpet the stairs, which is one option, but there are other things that you can do, too. There are some paints that are made for stairs that offer a non-slip, almost rubber-feeling, coating. Another option is to add tread covers to the center of each stair that make the stairs non-slip. Investigate the right options for your loved one’s home.
3. Consider a Wheelchair Ramp
In the case of smaller stairways, particularly around porches and entryways, a wheelchair ramp may be the right option. If you’re considering adding a wheelchair ramp, your best bet is to hire a professional handyman or contractor to do the job for you. There may be permits involved, and you want to make sure that the job is done properly.
4. Install a Stair Lift
If stairs are a significant problem for your elderly loved one, a stair lift may be just the solution for you. This is a motorized system that installs in the stairway. Your loved one sits in the chair and puts on the safety belt. With a push of a button, the chair rises on the rails attached to the stairs and safely arrives at the top of the stairs. The stair lift only takes up a small fraction of the stairway, so you and their senior care providers can still navigate the stairs easily.
Stairs require extra care, and possibly modifications, in order to make sure that your loved one is safe.
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