How to make stairs safe for the elderly?
According to the National Injury Survey of Pakistan, 8.85% of 1000 people face fall-related injuries each year in Pakistan. The numbers are quite alarming in the case of elderly people. Data suggests that most fall injuries among adults are caused due to unsafe staircases. Elderly have weaker vision, weary bones, and unstable nerves, which make them vulnerable to falling while going up or down the stairs.
Graana.com has compiled a list of preventive measures that can help you in making stairs safe for the elderly at home.
Measures to make Stairs safe for the Elderly
- Safety Handrails for Elderly
- Improve Lighting
- Stair coverings
- Remove Hazards
- Resting Spots
- Contrasting Colors
- Appropriate Footwear
- Stair Chair Lift
Safety Handrail for Elderly
Most of the stair falling injuries among the elderly occur due to no support while going up or down the stairs. Adults need more rest while walking, so no support means a higher chance of falling or slipping. Due to their unsteady steps, they need support on both sides of the stairs. So, adding handrails can provide them with enough support to tread safely on the stairs.
Handrails must be firmly attached to the wall so that they can bear the weight of the person. Moreover, the rails must also be adjusted at the proper height. It helps the elderly to rest in the middle and move with ease.
Lighting is one of the most important factors that can prevent several stair-fall accidents. As adults lose their vision with age, they cannot see objects clearly if the lighting is not adequate. Dim lights can cause them to miss the step resulting in a fall-related accident. Moreover, if there is any object on the stairs, they might lose sight of it, resulting in tripping or falling.
So, it is essential to have proper lighting on the stairs. Moreover, A switch must be installed at the bottom and top of the stairs for more convenience.
In some cases, stairs can have slippery surfaces that are very harmful for the elderly as they have a very unstable tread. Moreover, slippery coverings can also result in fall accidents. So, to prevent accidents on slippery surfaces, proper stair coverings should be used. Following are some stairs covering ideas that you can use inside your home to make stairs safe for the elderly:
Hardwood Stair Tread Covers
These are form-fitted stair covers that are placed as overlays above the already existing wooden stair steps. They make the surface of the stairs harder and less slippery, allowing the elderly to tread freely without the fear of slipping. Hardwood stair covers can easily be installed as they are very much similar to wooden floors. Additionally, they are not very expensive.
Laminate Stair Steps
Another suitable stair covering is lamination. These are low-cost versions of wooden flooring with an easy installation process and excellent anti-slip capabilities. Consisting of fiberboard with photo coverings over them, they can be placed as overlay systems on the existing stair treads. Construction adhesives are used to fix them on the stair parts.
Carpet Stair Tread Covers
In most houses, carpets are used as coverings for the stair treads. These covers are mostly available in the form of mats that are fixed with the help of adhesives. In some cases, these mats are fixed with the help of hooks underneath, helping them stick to the stair steps. They make the surface resistant and anti-slippery allowing the elderly to walk over them without any hazard of falling.
Bullnose Carpet Tread Covers
Traditional carpet tread covers may get very problematic during the installation process because of hard curling. This is where these bullnose tread covers come in handy. These covers are pre-curled, allowing the installation process to be easier. Moreover, these tread covers have rough surfaces that allow the feet to rest with proper resistance.
Most stair-fall accidents occur due to rugs or any objects on the stairs. These rugs or objects can cause tripping, ultimately leading to accidents. So, it is important to have these hazards removed in the first place.
Add Resting Spots
Elders have lesser stamina as compared to young people which can cause them to faint in the middle while using stairs. Adding proper resting spots on stairs is as important as putting proper coverings and having proper lighting. These resting spots allow the elderly to stop for a while, take a rest, build up energy, and then resume walking on the stairs.
Using Contrasting Colors
Since the elderly lose proper vision with age, it might become difficult for them to assess the tread heights. Adding contrasting colors on the stair treads will allow them to differentiate between the two treads and walk easily.
Appropriate Footwear for Elderly
Footwear with proper grip and support to the feet can also be very beneficial in making staircases safe for elders. Moreover, non-slip soles should be added to their footwear so that they can use the stairs without any risk.
Stair Chair Lift
Stair chair lifts are a costly solution to stair-fall accidents. However, in cases where intensive care is needed , these stair chair lifts can be of great help. Stair chair lifts come in two types:
- Straight Stair Chair Lift
- Curved Stair Chair Lift
Both types of stair lifts are designed specifically for different situations. Stair chair lifts are a modern solution to make stairs safe for the elderly suffering from chronic health conditions.
With growing age, bones weaken, resulting in problems such as arthritis, chronic neck and back pain, and much more. Fall-injuries can further add the risk of bone-fracture, injuries to the brain, or spinal cord damage.
Most of the houses in Pakistan have stairs that are not elderly-friendly and result in fall injuries. Wet floors can also be the cause of tripping or falling injuries. For younger people, fall injuries may not prove to be that much fatal as they are for the elderly. So, it is significant to prevent these falling injuries whether they are caused due to wet floors or non-adult friendly stairs.
The above-mentioned solutions can prevent stair-related accidents. These methods can be used easily as most of these are low-cost and low-maintenance. For more information, visit Graana.com – Pakistan’s first online real estate marketplace.
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