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How to Avoid Falls on the Stairs

outside stairs

Add hand railings to your stairs to make them safer.

As you grow older, navigating stairs becomes more difficult. Avoiding stairs is the best way to avoid a fall, but sometimes that’s not possible.

Here are some tips to help you safely go up and down the stairs in your home or away from home.

  • Hang on to one or both railings as you go up or down the stairs. If you live in a home without railings, ask someone to install them. Talk to a family member, friend, neighbor, senior organization, or church for help with changes to your home.
  • You can use your walking cane to help you navigate the stairs. Hold onto the railing with one hand and your cane in the other.
  • When possible, use the elevator or a ramp when away from home. Walking up and down a ramp is safer than using the stairs.
  • Wear shoes with rubber soles. They should be sized correctly for your feet to prevent tripping.
  • Get rid of any clutter on the stairs. Avoid using the stairs for storage.
  • The stairs should be evenly spaced and in good condition. Remove any loose strips of carpet, rubber mats, or metal strips that could trip you up.
  • Make sure the stairs are clearly outlined so that you can see where each stair begins. Carpeted stairs with busy patterns and deep-piled or shag carpet make it difficult to see each stair. Use brightly colored tape at the edge of each stair to make it easier to see the outline of each step.
  • The stairs should be well lit, with a light switch at the bottom and top of the staircase. Always turn on the light before going up or down the stairs.
  • If you are leaving the house, turn the porch light on above the outside stairs in case it’s dark when you return home.

Photo credit takomabibelot on Flickr via ESP

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