Modifying Stairs For The Elderly

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  • Move the person to a main floor bedroom if possible
  • Install or tighten handrails
  • Put lighting and non-slip material on steps
  • Install a stair lift for those with poor mobility
  • Keep steps and landings free of clutter
  • Reduce or eliminate the need to use the stairs

Aging In Place In A Multi Level Home

Home Modifications for Older Adults

  1. Escape routes are easier to access in case of a fire or other problem.
  2. If no one else is using the upstairs — electricity and heating costs can be lower.
  • Carpeting the staircase
  • Installing a chair lift
  1. Alter the height of steps — using guidelines for Low Riser type of stairs. These are most often used outdoors in public places but if your home (and budget) can allow for them, they are an excellent solution.
  2. Modifying Staircases with Stair Aides — but if there are any cognitive problems such as Dementia or Alzheimer’s — it’s not recommended to use stair aide blocks as it may be more difficult for the home owner to remember how to use them safely.
  3. Stair Lifts are the most common solution for those who have physical difficulty getting up and down stairs.
  4. Elevator — of course most homes cannot accommodate (or afford) an elevator, but it is an option if you can do it.
  • If the home security system only has a panel on the main level, it’s recommended to add a second panel upstairs (in the master bedroom if possible).
  • Keep several bottles of water upstairs.
  • Stash away some crackers or granola bars, etc. upstairs.
  • Purchase a second set of cleaning supplies (if you do the cleaning) and keep them upstairs. If need be, purchase a second vacuum cleaner for upstairs.
  • If possible, install a laundry chute upstairs and hopefully you will be able to connect it to the laundry area.
  • Being safe means not taking chances. It’s mandatory to enforce the idea that carrying things up the stairs is NOT safe. If the homeowner MUST carry small items upstairs — a good way to do that is by wearing a backpack or an apron with pockets, etc.

Getting Financial Help

Related Questions

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Senior Safety Advice

Senior Safety Advice

Esther Kane & Robin Schiltz are Certified Senior Home Safety Specialists and we are here to help you age in place safely! Tips for seniors and their caregivers.