Preventing Falls on the Stairs


Last Updated: June 11, 2024

There are many areas of the home that pose dangers or present risks, often depending on your age group. For instance, a child might be at risk when playing around the stove, while an elderly individual is more likely to be at risk when using the stairs. Identifying and addressing these issues is paramount to staying healthy and injury-free.

Among seniors, a fall can be a very serious event. It is often harder for an elderly individual to catch themselves before they fall. The recovery time for a senior is also much longer, and the process can be quite difficult. Many times, due to osteoporosis, even a small, low-impact fall can result in a broken hip or fractured wrist. Therefore, it is far better to prevent falls before they happen.

Stairs and Elevation Changes

One of the most common places for a fall is the stairs and other areas that change elevation. Sometimes a home will have a step down into the living room or perhaps even into the kitchen. Ensuring all these types of areas are clearly marked is a good idea. Using a piece of brightly colored textured tape is effective. On the stairs, you should use the same color tape for all the steps, with the exception of the first and last step. On the first and last step, you should use a color that sharply contrasts the tape on the inside steps. This way, it is easy to quickly identify the top and bottom steps.

Stair Lifts

Some people also choose to install a stair lift, which is a medical lifting aid. These devices help a person up the stairs and are great for those who find it painful or otherwise difficult to use the stairs. Many accidents are caused by a lack of balance, so those who are at all unsteady should consider using some sort of lifting aid.

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One of the great things about a stair lift is that it can be installed on most straight staircases quickly and easily. There is rarely a need to modify the home, with the exception of securing the stair lift track to the staircase. A curved staircase is not quite as easy to outfit with a stair lift, though.

Removing Loose Carpets

It is also a good idea to remove loose carpets, especially around the stairs. A loose throw rug not only can slip, but even if the rug has a non-skid backing, the corner can become turned up, making it possible to trip over it. Instead, carpets should be tacked to the floor and remain firmly in place or otherwise removed.

Motion Sensor Lights

Having adequate lighting can also be very important to prevent falls. Installing motion sensor lights or motion sensor switches can be a good idea. These lights come on if they detect motion, but they can also be turned on like regular lights, such as our Rayeek motion sensor switches’s manual mode allowing to keep the light ON/OFF like a regular switch. You can also adjust how sensitive the motion detector is, so make sure you adjust it to turn on as soon as you come near the stairs.

Handrails and Grab Bars

Installing handrails on both sides of the stairs and grab bars in areas like bathrooms can provide additional support and stability. These aids are particularly useful for seniors who may have difficulty maintaining their balance.

Non-Slip Surfaces

Applying non-slip coatings or mats to stairs and other potentially slippery surfaces can further reduce the risk of falls. These materials provide extra traction, making it less likely for someone to slip.

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For a senior, it can be difficult to recover from a fall. It is a good idea to take steps to make your home as safe as possible. By addressing common fall areas, ensuring adequate lighting, and implementing additional safety measures, you can significantly reduce the risk of falls and create a safer living environment.

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