Tips For Securing Stairwells For Elderly Patients

10 August 2018
 Categories: , Blog

If you have been trying to remodel a property to make it safer for your aging loved one, there are some key things you need to consider. In addition to eliminating any trip hazards indoors, you also need to consider the safety of any stairs on the property. One of the most important ways to improve the safety of any stairs is to install some stable, secure guardrails. Before you choose just any handrail, there are some things that you should consider. Here are a couple of things to think about as you select your handrails.

Understand The Building Codes

Building codes vary from state to state and from city to city. Make sure that you familiarize yourself with the local building codes before you install any handrails. If you don't know what they are, you can find them at your local city planner's office. It is essential that any railing you choose be compliant with those code regulations.

Focus On Functionality

One of the most important considerations when choosing a handrail system is ensuring that it is functional for the primary person you're installing it for. Approach the stairway with the considerations of your loved one's mobility issues. The more specifically focused the handrail installation is, the more effective and safe the handrail will be for them. Take time to walk up and down the stairs with the assumption that you have the same mobility issue, or observe your family member on the stairs to see what their specific struggles are. That way, you can be sure that the handrails you install will be helpful.

Evaluate The Rise Of The Stairs

If the stairs in question are too steep, a railing isn't going to make enough of a safety difference. Steep stairs are still going to be hard to navigate. If you're not sure about the safety of the stairs that you're dealing with, check the ADA compliance guide for stair angles. That helps you to determine if they are safe or if they need to be remodeled. If the stairs are too steep or even if they are on the borderline, it may be in your best interest to replace the stairs altogether when you add the handrail.

Consider The Width And Construction Of The Handrail

When you're dealing with elderly individuals, you have to consider the width of the handrail carefully. Remember that things like arthritis can make some railings hard to grasp. Installing a handrail that is too narrow or one that's made from a slippery material could lead to difficulties for your loved one when they are trying to use it. Instead, opt for a larger handrail that's easy for tight, painful joints to grasp. You can also add a cushioned, textured cover to the railing to make grip easier.

Prioritize The Structural Stability

When you install a handrail that is simply used as a guide, you don't have to worry so much about its stability. However, when you are installing a handrail that is designed to support someone with mobility issues, such as an elderly family member, you need to be prepared for that railing to support a lot of weight and force on a regular basis. Make sure that you choose hardware that is designed to be strong, durable, and reinforced. Things like hardened steel bolts will help ensure that the railing stays intact. In addition, you can add some reinforcement on the wall or the posts where you install that railing so that you don't have to worry about it coming loose.

These are just some of the things you should consider when you install a railing for someone with mobility issues. Talk with a local contractor today for more information.