While looking for a facility for your senior loved one to live in, like an active living community or a nursing home, pay attention to the presence of stairs. According to the Centers for Disease Control, one out of every four seniors suffers a fall each year. Stairs can be a fall hazard for New Mexico seniors, and depending on the health of your relative, a set of stairs can be very dangerous.
Stairs pose a greater risk for seniors because of the added health issues many older people face. Some seniors have weaker legs or decreased body strength, which can affect their balance. Medication can also be a factor since medicine can reduce a person’s sense of balance while standing or walking. Since many seniors take medicine, they may not be very steady while walking. Additionally, the vision issues that seniors suffer from can cause them to misjudge the steps that they can take.
These health issues can make navigating stairs problematic or even treacherous. Relatives of an older one should take great care in evaluating how their loved one can handle walking up and down stairs. If an older loved one cannot handle stairs or is at significant risk of falling, relatives should consider how possible living facilities for their loved one are laid out. For example, relatives of an older person may be looking for a nursing home for their loved one. If so, it may be better to seek out a single-story facility.
Additionally, if a senior is independent enough to handle walking up and down stairs, a prospective living facility should still be checked for safety measures. These include making sure that stairs have guard rails. Railings not only provide support for seniors to climb up or down, but they provide a barrier to prevent people from falling over the edge. According to Weeklysafety.com, stairs should also not have any trash, stairwells should be well-lit, and any spills on stairs should be reported.