How do I modify stairs for an elderly person?
When you start having difficulty with stairs, it seems like you run into them everywhere. They’re pretty simple to dodge in public buildings with elevators, but they’re far more difficult to avoid in your own home. Since falls are the leading cause of injury among seniors, it’s important to use the stairs as safely as possible.
Seniors fall down the stairs as to many diseases, the most important of which are health, environmental, and behavioral. Reduced vision, confusion, dizziness, loss of balance, and an inactive lifestyle are all health factors.
Environmental factors such as missing or damaged handrails, inadequate lighting, and poor-quality shoddy foot surfaces may all add to a fall. Lack of attention, holding items while using the stairs, and wearing inappropriate footwear are all behavioral variables.
Taking non-senior-friendly stairs is not only stressful and difficult but also dangerous for seniors. Stairway crashes are the leading cause of accidental death among the elderly, according to estimates.
You can not only avoid falls and slips by improving stair protection, but you can also make life easier for seniors by allowing them to walk around the house more independently without fear of falling.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to spend a lot of time or money to make the stairs safer for seniors: a few simple home modifications and adjustments will make a big difference for the elderly.
And now let’s see effective ways to modify stairs for an elderly person:
There are many home modifications for the elderly you can adjust to in your home. Modifying stairs are the one because they every day up down with the help of stairs. Here is the stairs modification you can try.
Non-slip flooring installation
The type of stairwell flooring is the first thing to consider. Carpet runners may bunch up or fall out of position, increasing the risk of tripping. So, although they may seem fashionable, they are best avoided in the home of an elderly person. A laminate or vinyl floor with non-slip strips, or a fitted carpet with a low pile, is typically the safest choice.
If you use carpet, make sure it is properly installed and maintained, as this will help to minimize the risk of it falling loose and causing a tripping hazard.
If your loved one has difficulty moving around, the right footwear will aid by offering excellent grip and support for the feet.
Throw out old or worn shoes and slippers and substitute them with durable, practical boots with a non-slip sole.
Make sure you have enough lighting
From the bottom to the top, stairwells should be well-lit. The first step in making stairwells secure for the elderly is to install appropriate lighting.
Most seniors have vision deficiency. It’s especially difficult for them to get about safely when there isn’t enough light. That is why it is important to brighten dark areas in your house, including the staircase.
Staircase lighting can be done in a variety of ways. Installing wall lights and wall recessed lights are one of the simplest solutions. However, excessive glare may be one of the issues.
This is something you want to stop at all costs because glare can cause seniors to lose their balance and fall. Glare can be reduced by preparing ahead of time, avoiding clear lines of sight to the light source, painting with matte paint, and avoiding glossy surfaces.
Both stairwells must have a handrail on both sides in a home for an elderly person who is becoming less mobile. There should be no holes in the handrail as it runs from the bottom level to the top.
Railings should be of a size and shape that your relative can easily grip — flat, rounded handrails with no raised accents are ideal.
The railing should be durable and firmly fitted to avoid wobbling, and it should be installed at an acceptable height — some people may need it to be lowered as they have grown older.
Together with a stairlift
For the elderly, stairlifts are very powerful stair climbing aids. They’re recommended for seniors who have serious mobility or balance problems and want to safely use the stairs.
A stairlift is a system that transports you up and downstairs when you are seated. They usually have a built-in battery, so they can keep running even if the power goes out.
There are two styles of stairlifts that are commonly used. Straight rail stairlifts and curved rail stairlifts are more expensive because they are custom-made and more complex. The rails are usually fixed to the stair treads.
Remove tripping dangers from way
It’s all too tempting to leave a few odds and ends on the stairwell to pick up later, we’ve all done it. However, leaving items on the stairwell can be a significant tripping danger, particularly for anyone with mobility issues or poor eyesight.
As a result, you can speak with your relative and try to find a way to assist them in avoiding this situation.
One option is to put a basket in an out-of-the-way location in the hallway where they can store items that need to be brought upstairs during the day. During their stay, a parent or carer will carry the basket up for them.
Installing stair safety gates for seniors with Dementia
In some cases, installing a stair safety gate to keep seniors with dementia from ascending the stairs is a viable option.
However, these gates are not appropriate for all elderly people with cognitive impairment: some of them can attempt to climb over the fence, especially if they are unsure of the situation.
This can result in the injuries and falls that the gate was intended to prevent. You want your elderly loved ones to only use the ground floor if you use gates. You can be sure they won’t fall down the stairs this way.
Secure the visibility of the edges
Since many seniors have low visibility, it’s essential to make the edges of the steps noticeable.
Using contrasting colors is usually a good idea; for example, you can paint the edges of the steps red or some other color that is distinctly different from the treads. You might, for example, paint a stripe of brightly colored paint around the edge of each step to make it stand out.
Consider the house layout again
Reducing the amount of time your relative spends on the stairs is one of the best ways to potentially minimize the risk of an accident. As a result, it’s worth considering if there are any other improvements they might make to their home to reduce the number of trips up the stairs they have to take.
If you have the rooms, you and your relative might consider moving the master bedroom downstairs. Alternatively, if the only bathroom is upstairs, a toilet may be installed on the ground floor.
Also, provide a spot to relax
Consider adding a bench to a landing or curve if the staircase requires it, to provide a safe place to rest. Such an addition is possible in some larger homes.
On the way up or down the stairs, a small bench will provide a much-needed break for a senior.
Carpet runners should be removed
For older adults who are unsteady or use a cane, the surface of the stairs may make taking steps more difficult. Remove any carpet runners from the stairwell for the safest surface. Although these runners add a nice touch to space, they also increase the risk of tripping.
Falls are dangerous for everyone, but they are much more dangerous for seniors due to the possible consequences of a fall. Thankfully, there are some things you can do at home to help avoid falls and keep your senior loved one safe. You will build a healthier home atmosphere for the seniors in your life if you take the time to make these changes.
You want your senior loved one to be able to live comfortably at home, whether alone or with you. You want the house to be a comfortable place for them to move around without fear of injury from a fall. Yes, getting a home in the best shape to be healthy for seniors takes time and effort, but time and energy are well spent.
Your senior loved one will be happier at home, where he or she can maintain their freedom, and a happy senior will live a longer, more satisfying life. You will feel more comfortable leaving your seniors at home if you know they are not at risk of falling.
Although it is impossible to make stairs entirely accessible for older people, there are steps you can take to make them much safer, allowing them to remain in the home they know and love.
Please keep in mind that this information is only intended as a reference, and if you have any concerns about providing treatment for an elderly individual, you should still contact a care professional.