Home Safety Tips for Seniors: Stair Safety and Living Areas

“If you are an older adult or have loved ones who are older, home safety should be an important part of your healthy living strategy,” says Stacey Palumbo, Director of Rehabilitation Services at Bryn Mawr Terrace in Bryn Mawr, PA.

“As we age, we become more at risk for injuries, which often occur in and around the home. Why? Because changes in our vision, balance, hearing and reflexes can make us more vulnerable to accidents. Among these risks, falls – particularly on the stairs – are one of the most serious.”

The National Council on Aging tells us that falls are the leading cause of injury and injury-related death among senior adults ages 65 and older today. According to statistics, one out of three senior adults falls every year, and two-thirds of them will fall again within six months. Additionally, the risk of falling increases with each decade of life.

Falls that aren’t fatal can still be life-altering in many ways. For example, up to 30 percent of seniors who fall suffers injuries such as hip fractures, hip lacerations or head traumas. Falls are also the most common cause of brain injuries for seniors. Falls that do not result in broken bones can still result in significantly decreased mobility.

“Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to reduce the risk of falls and other accidents in the home and increase your odds of maintaining a safe and healthy lifestyle!” adds Stacey.

Stair Safety Checklist

Because of the tripping hazard and the potential for serious injury involved, stair safety should be a high priority for all older Americans.

There are several good resources available that offer useful home safety tips for seniors, including the AARP Home Safety Checklist and Home Safety Tips for Older Adults.

When evaluating stair safety, you should consider the following and take appropriate action:

  • Are there secure handrails on both sides of the stairway?
  • Is there grasping space for both knuckles and fingers on railings?
  • Do the steps have a smooth, safe surface? If your stairs are made of a smooth material (wood, paint, tile, etc.), you can install rubber treads or anti-slip tape for proper footing and grip.
  • Are there loose rugs at the top and bottom of the stairs that could cause slipping?
  • Are there light switches at the top and bottom of the stairs?
  • Are the stair treads deep enough for your whole foot?
  • Would a ramp be feasible in any of these areas if it became necessary?

Other Home Safety Tips

These safety tips are important for parts of the home where you spend the most time:

  • For floor space – Move furniture that is in your way. Pick up items that are on the floor. Coil telephone and electrical wires next to the wall. Keep items off the stairs. Fix loose or uneven steps. Make sure stair carpeting is secure.
  • For the kitchen – Keep often-used items on lower, easy-to-reach shelves or cabinets.
  • For the bathroom – Place a non-slip mat or self-stick strips on your shower or tub floor. If you need it, install grab bars near the toilet and in the shower for fall prevention.
  • Try to avoid wet floors, and clean up spills right away. Use only non-skid wax on waxed floors at home.
  • For the bedroom – Make sure the path to your bed is clutter-free. Install a night-light in your room for nighttime fall prevention.
  • Install motion- or sound-activated lights in your home so you aren't walking around in the dark or groping blindly for switches. 

Says Stacey,By remaining cognizant of the importance of home safety and applying these valuable tips, seniors and their loved ones can take charge of their safety and health and remain independent for as long as possible!”

Your Family Resource for Senior Care Information and Support

Rated ‘’Best in Senior Care,’’ Bryn Mawr Terrace is more than a leading senior care community; it is a warm, friendly place that older loved ones can proudly call home. We invite you to read our monthly articles and tips on a variety of important senior care topics, and we welcome you to stop in for a tour to see for yourself why we’ve been named the “Best of the Main Line.”

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If you have comments or questions about our blog, we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences with us in our comments section.

A Healthy Tradition of Care and Wellness

There are times when the challenges associated with advanced age, a prolonged illness or a chronic condition make 24-hour care and support a necessity. At Bryn Mawr Terrace, we’re always here for you and your family. Our compassionate, professional team treats our residents as family and respects each of them as individuals they are, all with their own unique life story.

We understand that each one of our residents has unique needs and desires, so we deliver personalized care and services that are tailored to each individual. The amenities and activities offered within our community are designed to keep our residents happy, fulfilled and living well. From delicious dining to a variety of social programming, we offer a lifestyle that’s meant to be lived!

Located near Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr Terrace – part of Main Line Senior Care Alliance – has provided exceptional care and services to seniors and their families since 1966. It’s a tradition we’re proud to continue.

Today, Bryn Mawr Terrace serves as a Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), offering a range of services – including short-term rehabilitation, traditional nursing care, independent living, personal care, memory care, restorative care and respite care – all in a setting that is warm, welcoming and nurturing.

For more information on Bryn Mawr Terrace and our variety of needs-based lifestyle services, please call us at (610) 525-8300 or contact us online.

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