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How to Prevent Injury Accidents on Stairs for Seniors

According to the National Council on Aging, one in four Americans aged 65 and older will suffer a fall this year. Injuries from these falls range from minor scrapes and bruises to more serious strains and fractures. Other falls can lead to more serious injuries, and some can even lead to death. Many of these falls happen on stairs inside the home. You can prevent the stairway from being a source of serious injury by taking the following preventative actions.

Inspect Staircase Design and Maintenance

The stairs should be in excellent condition for seniors to use safely. A significant number of falls and other incidents are caused by broken or missing components. Ensure that the stairs are repaired and free of obstructions or flaws. Also, the design of the stairway should make it easy for senior citizens to use. The treads should have consistent measurements and have a uniform pattern with no complications or shifts between steps. If they do not follow these guidelines, investing in staircase anti-slip treads or paint is an easy to do home repair. 

Provide Adequate Lighting

Using the stairs is particularly dangerous when it is dark. Senior citizens may have more difficulty seeing where they are going and which steps they are taking. Mitigate this fall risk by installing lighting near the stairways to improve visibility. Nightlights are a good compromise between visibility and subtlety.

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Install and Maintain Handrails

An effective way to ensure seniors can use the stairs safely is by installing a handrail so they can hold on to it and support themselves as they climb step by step. If you provide a handrail, make sure it has a power grip so they can grab on to it entirely while they use it, rather than just their fingers like most users do. Also, inspect the handrails so they are not loose, detached, or broken.

Consider Chair Lifts

For seniors who struggle with movement on flat surfaces, climbing stairs may seem impossible. Chair lifts are an ideal solution. Chair lifts are attached to the staircase’s wall and can bring a chair up or down on the user’s command. Seniors can sit on the chairs and operate these lifts so they can safely and conveniently get from one end to the other without straining or injuring themselves.

It is important to stay proactive when it comes to increasing the safety of senior citizens. By considering the details when it comes to identifying hazards and taking the proper measures, you’ll greatly prevent the chances of harmful falls on the stairs. 

Aging doesn’t have to mean losing independence. If your loved one is a fall risk even after these precautions have been taken, consider in-home care. A trained caregiver can ensure their safety.

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