It rarely occurs to people to worry about stairs until they find themselves in a position where it becomes a problem. After all, stairs are an everyday part of our lives, so it’s hard to fathom a time when you can no longer rely on your ability to climb them. The issue can get especially tricky when the elderly having such trouble refuse to downsize and no longer live in houses that have multiple floors. In such situations, getting to the bedroom can be a daily struggle, and the ordeal can become more than a little dangerous too. Tumbling down a flight of stairs could result in severe injuries or even death. Therefore it is imperative to either provide assistance or to teach the correct techniques on how the elderly person should tackle the challenge themselves in a safe manner.
There are also various tools available that can help and buying one can’t hurt, with solutions out there that won’t break the bank; so if a stair lift is not an option, there is no need to give up on finding helpful equipment just yet.
Assess the Situation
How much help does the senior need? Is it safe for them to attempt the obstacle on their own, or is the presence of a caregiver necessary? A stairlift would be a good substitute for a direct personal assistance for the most part, but they’re pretty harsh on the wallet. It’s probably worth considering to invest in, however, if the senior must climb up and down a long flight of stairs regularly and has no way of doing so on their own at all. This is certainly the safest solution. If you cannot afford a stairlift and the elderly is incapable of climbing on their own – not even with the help of extra equipment – then the only feasible choice is to help the person directly.
For the safety of all involved, it is important to learn the proper techniques before attempting to provide any assistance. First of all, if the senior is willing to wear one, a gait belt should be used, especially if the person requires help in other situations as well, particularly with sitting or standing. If the idea of such a belt is met with resistance, then when helping to lift them remember never to tug on the arms, hands, or shoulders, but instead to give support by placing a hand on the lower back or around the waist.
On the stairs, no matter which direction the senior is moving, the caregiver should position themself one step lower than the person they’re helping. After grabbing the handrails, the elderly should move on their own as much as possible while the caregiver provides extra balance or a small push.
Helping Elderly People on the Stairs
Equipment to Consider
If the senior only needs minimal assistance to make it to the top or bottom of the stairs or if the problematic area is no more than a single step to get onto the porch, for example, then you might want to consider buying something more budget friendly and much less elaborate than a stairlift. A good solution for both longer and shorter stretches of stairs is to reduce the height between steps with the use of stepping stools. These stools come in many shapes and forms: some are portable, some are fixed, and some can even be folded. North American Health + Wellness’ Stair Assist Half Steps are a nice, cheap option.
For single steps, the EZ-Step Stair Climbing Cane is more than sufficient since it functions as a cane and a stool at the same time, providing additional balance when using the handle. It is a neat, budget-friendly option.
Never Leave Anything to Chance!
Accidents can happen at any time, for any reason, it just happens to be that the elderly are more susceptible than the average person and so consequences of a fall can be devastating for them. Have a backup plan, especially if the senior uses the stairs on their own. A medical alert system with a fall detection pendant will give everyone some much-needed peace of mind and will enable the immediate arrival of help in an emergency.
Best Medical Alert Systems of 2019
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