Often household injuries occur due to a fall down the stairs. A small slip can result in a broken bone especially for a senior. Many seniors want to stay in their own home so it is necessary for loved ones to make the environment as safe as possible. Since it is typically not possible to remove stairs from an existing home and install ramps here are some other tips to increase safety of stairs.
Verify existing railings are securely installed. When pulled on they should not wiggle at all. If railings do not exist it is strongly recommended they be installed. It is best to install railings on both sides of the stairs. Also, verify your loved one uses the railings when going up and down the stairs. Use of railings significantly decreases the risk of falls.
Items left on the stairs are a tripping hazard. Nothing should be left on the stairs at any point. If your loved on likes to put items on the stairs that need to be brought to another floor consider placing an empty basket adjacent to the stairs where they can accumulate items to transport. The key is to not put the basket actually on the stairs but instead adjacent.
Stairs need to be well-lit. Sometimes this is an issue with stairs leading to the basement. Consider installing higher wattage bulbs over staircases or add reflective tape to the edge of the steps.
It is best for your loved on to walk up and down the stairs without trying to carry items at the same time. This will allow them to have free hands to hold onto the railing. Ask what type of items they typically find they need to carry up and down the stairs. If possible buy duplicates of these items so they have one upstairs and one downstairs eliminating the need to transport the item. For example, if they are carrying a water cup upstairs consider purchasing disposable cups to keep upstairs.
Care at Home
Taking the above steps will help lower the likelihood of a fall. However, you may still worry that your loved one is no longer stable enough to traverse the stairs. This does not mean you need to move your loved one. Instead consider the option of senior care at home. A home care aide can help with light housework, meal planning and preparation, medication reminders and provide companionship for your loved one. In addition a safety assessment can be conducted of the home to identify areas of improvement that will help reduce the risk of injury. For more information about at home care contact us.