Safety on the stairs for the elderly and people with dementia

We have previously blogged about the importance of ensuring an elderly loved-one’s home is as safe as possible for them to move around in and how their home should be kitted out with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

One of the biggest dangers in a house is steps and the staircase if the property is not a bungalow. As a loved-one gets older it’s much more difficult for them to move up and down the stairs with ease.

The elderly and those with dementia are much more prone to falls and falling down a set of stairs can cause serious injury.

People with dementia have a much harder time with depth perception and colours, so if their staircase is carpeted in one colour, it’s much more difficult for them to see and navigate. If you can, it’s a good idea to mark out the steps with a contrasting colour tape or white tape. You can do this with outside doorsteps too.

It’s also a good idea to ensure to make sure stairs are well lit from top to bottom. If possible, install light switches at the top and bottom.

If it’s possible, you should think about installing ramps on outside steps and doorsteps as they’re much easier for the elderly with wheelchairs or other mobility aids to use.

The best thing you can do to aid mobility on stairs is to install handrails if there is not already a bannister. Stair lifts are also extremely handy to aid the elderly in getting up the stairs, especially if they spend time alone in the house. However, they aren’t cheap so it’s worth trialling other methods first before investing.

If going up and down the stairs becomes impossible it is worth considering converting a downstairs room into a bedroom or bathroom for easier access for your loved-one.