As we grow older, our bodies need more support, especially when we’re moving. While a staircase appears easy to traverse in our youth, it’s much more challenging when we’re more mature. That’s why it’s important to give seniors the support they need on the staircase.
Remember, falls are a common cause of injury among older people. For example, experts say that 1 in 3 seniors above the age of 65 is likely to fall at least once in Canada. Falls are also one of the leading causes of injury-related hospitalizations in the country.
While a fall can be bad for a senior at any location, it can be hazardous on the stairs. Let’s look at some tips to help the elderly down the stairs:
1. Be Patient
When helping a senior citizen down the stairs, you must be patient. Whether there’s a phone call or a package at the door, you must ignore everything and unwearyingly support your senior citizen on their slow and deliberate walk down. Offer a firm shoulder for support and use handrails if you need to. And please be extra supportive when the stairs pivot to avoid accidents.
It’s also a good idea to be kind. Many seniors feel self-conscious about their physical limitations. Share words of encouragement without being condescending as they descend the stairs.
Don’t let go after they’re down because the trek down the stairs may have been physically draining for them. Walk with them to a seat if they need a break or support them to the door if that’s where they’re going.
2. Remove Fall Hazards
Ensure that there are no fall hazards on the stairway or the way to the stairs, especially if there are children in the house who frequently leave toys lying around. It’s also a good idea to remove slippery rugs near the top and the bottom of the staircase. Additionally, ensure that there are no newspapers, magazines, wires, and other items on the floor.
You should also clean the stairs regularly because dust can be slippery. Avoid cleaning with a wet mop, as moisture can also make stairs dangerous. You can also install anti-slip materials on the stairs to improve the grip. Finally, gently encourage your seniors to avoid wearing smooth socks when they’re walking down the stairs if the stairs are made of wood or marble.
If the stairs are proving to be too hazardous in the home, why not consider visiting a supportive Meridian senior living facility, where your senior loved one will be able to navigate the stairs in a safe and stable manner? A senior living facility has the right support in place to allow seniors to move easily around the building, allowing them to socialise.
3. Provide Support
Your stairwell should have a solid and reliable handrail to support you senior down the stairs if they can move independently. It should also be at the right height to aid them and must offer a good grip. Please keep the handrail clean and ensure that it doesn’t carry any dust or moisture. Keep it clear of bugs if your home has an insect problem.
Your family should also consider investing in an emergency evacuation stair chair for your multistoried home. Did you know that seniors are more likely to get hurt in an emergency like a fire than anyone else? A stair chair is easily trainable, convenient, and can help seniors evacuate swiftly in a dangerous situation, such as a blackout, fire, earthquake, tornado, flood, gas leak, hurricane, etc.
A stair chair from the right company isn’t just for emergencies, though. It can be used to help the elderly move safely down the chairs in any everyday situation. A good stair chair, like the one developed by Evacuscape, can also be used as a travel chair and is handy to keep in the car when going on a road trip with a senior person.
Here are some features of the Evacuscape chair:
- Easily trainable
- It can be stored in convenient locations around the home thanks to a protective cover and wall bracket
- A weight capacity of up to 400lbs
- Solid padded seat and solid back for comfort
- Front carry handle for easy transportation
- A sophisticated fail-safe braking system for extra security
- Speed reducing features for a safe descent
- 5 point harness and head restraint strap for maximum security
- Under seat light for extra visibility in the dark
Remember, a stair chair isn’t just for seniors. It can support anyone with reduced mobility, including pregnant women, the physically disabled, injured individuals, and people with mobility tools. That’s why such chairs are found in apartments, condos, hospitals, care homes, schools, and other multistoried buildings.
4. Light it Up
Of course, your staircase should be well-lit. Ensure that the overhead lights are always activated in the evenings. Light switches should be available at both parts of the stairs for everyone’s safety and convenience.
You can also install special lights on the side of the stairs that illuminate each step. For modern options, you can invest in smart lights for the stairs that activate with voice control. Alternatively, you can invest in lights for your staircase that automatically activate at night, saving you on your energy bills.
5. Encourage Exercise
It would help if you also encouraged your seniors to exercise regularly to remain fit and strengthen their mobility, balance, strength, and endurance. Seniors that exercise regularly also gain the following benefits:
- Stronger heart
- Balanced blood sugar levels
- Good blood pressure
- Better immune system
- Enhanced digestive functioning
Likewise, exercise helps seniors ward of diseases such as Alzheimer’s, some cancers, and osteoporosis. Of course, physical activity is also excellent for the elderly’s mental health, releasing happy chemicals like endorphins in the body that reduce stress and depression.
6. Provide Tools
Aside from a stair chair, you can also provide stools to the elderly to help them feel safe and comfortable on the staircase. For example, a mobility aid like a rubber tipped walking stick then help them feel supported.
You can also install light switches at the top and base of the staircase that are specially designed for seniors. These lights switches are easier to reach and more visible.
Helping the elderly down the stairs is an important and rewarding task. Use the appropriate tools to improve security and remove all fall hazards. With the right steps, you can help take the anxiety out of walking down the staircase for seniors.