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The secret is out. The older we get, the harder it is to maintain our balance. It’s no wonder many members of our elderly population require the use of mobility solutions such as walkers, rollators and wheelchairs. And while the Advantage Home Health Solutions team is very proud to offer a wide variety of the above mentioned solutions, we’re also well aware that many steps should be taken to make staircases safer.

Walkers, rollators and wheelchairs aren’t exactly helpful for stair climbing. Even for seniors who are able to walk around on their own experience difficulties with ascending the stairs. As the Government of Canada reveals on their website, “seniors are more at risk for falling on stairs than younger adults, and more likely to suffer severe injuries. In fact, seniors 65+ account for 70% of the deaths resulting from stair accidents.”

So what steps should be taken to make staircases safer?

Insisting upon sturdy, safe, strong and secure handrails.

That’s a lot of adjectives, isn’t it? Each one is important. Ensuring that the elderly loved one in your life has something to hold on to as he/she goes up and down the stairs will help to prevent slips and falls. The Canada.ca website insists that handrails be well secured and that one’s full hand can get around them.

The site also suggests that handrails be installed at a height of 34 to 38 inches (or 86 to 97 centimetres). “There should be a handrail on at least one side of all stairways,” the website continues, “The height should allow you to use it comfortably when your arm is slightly bent at the elbow.”

Building strength and balance through exercise.

Staircase safety requires more than making changes to the staircases themselves. There should be some onus placed on all users of staircases to grow their strength and balance as much as possible. Catherine Harrop of CBC News writes that exercises designed for older adults are proving to help them gain better balance and strength. For her article on the subject, she interviews Alina Cress, who is the program co-ordinator with recreation services at the University of New Brunswick.

“It helps strengthen the muscles that we require to hold us upright,” Cress says of her training program for seniors, “Our posture muscles, to keep our shoulders and hips stacked over each other, our core muscles that help to stabilize through our trunk, our hip muscles that help us stabilize through our pelvis and through our centre of gravity. The balance exercises help target sensory information that we get from our feet on the floor, and our visual sensations.”

Installing stair lifts.

When all else fails, you can never go wrong with a stair lift! Stair lifts have the ability to eliminate slips and falls on the stairs. It’s one of the main reasons the Advantage Home Health Solutions is so proud to offer them. For more information about the various stair lifts we offer, 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!