Most of us take the act of walking up and down the stairs for granted. We don’t generally consider it an issue as the task is generally a regular part of our everyday lives. For both seniors and individuals with mobility issues, however, the climbing of stairs is a difficult activity. This is especially true when staircases are in disrepair or are strewn with obstacles. Stair safety, it needs to be made clear, is no laughing matter.
According to a 2015 CTV News report based on information provided by the Canadian Public Health Association, “on average, every day in Canada, nearly one person dies falling on a set of stairs, and more than 270 people end up in the hospital…And elderly people make up two-thirds of those cases.”
So what are some steps that can be taken to make your stairs safer? Here are four:
1. Light it up.
Seeing where you’re stepping is the first step to steps that are hazard-free. Be sure to have well-lit staircases in your home so that all users of the stairs can see where they’re going. Just as importantly, good lighting helps for people to sidestep obstacles, if left on the stairs. It should go without saying that the stairs should be kept free of any debris. However, lighting it up to make each step clearly visible will help to prevent accidents.
In a special report compiled by the Community Health Research Unit at the University of Ottawa, the lighting of staircases is the first suggestion given to improve stair safety. “This isn’t the place to try and save a few pennies on electricity,” states the report, “Use the maximum wattage permitted by the light socket and it’s best if stairs have two light switches, one at the top and the second at the bottom.”
2. Mind what you wear.
We don’t often consider the style of our garments as being safety issues. However, when it comes to both your footwear and your choice of clothing to wear around the house, it’s important to keep in mind how they can impact your safety when walking up and down the stairs. The University of Ottawa report asks people to make note of the looseness of their clothing.
“Don’t take the stairs in your stocking feet, loose shoes or floppy slippers,” it warns, “And if you wear long skirts, loose trousers or dressing gowns, take extra care on stairs — they’re very easy to trip on.”
3. Take your time.
This may sound like a no-brainer piece of advice, but it’s important to give nonetheless. Have you ever tripped “up” the stairs? This often happens when you’re rushing. As the University of Ottawa’s Community Health Research Unit advises, “Don’t rush – take your time and take a good look at the stairs; shadows, unexpectedly short handrails, and uneven steps can all cause distractions or unexpected disruptions and lead to falls.”
4. Consider installing a stair lift.
For individuals with significant mobility issues, no safety measures will make things safe enough. A stair lift, however, will remove all of the dangers associated with climbing up and down stairs on your own. For more information about the stair lifts offered by Advantage Home Health Solutions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact page!