How to Make Stairs Safe for Seniors and Those with Movement-Limiting Disabilities

Posted Tue, Jan 8, 2019

One of the biggest challenges that we face as we age is limited range of motion. This is also a challenge for those that suffer from a movement-limited disability.

When an individual starts to experience complications in movement, one of the most dangerous components to their home are any and all stairs – be it stairs that lead into the home, or stairs that allow access to upper floors of the structure.

Falls are highly likely to occur. According to research, falls are the single largest cause of emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Additionally, falls account for nearly 30,000 fatalities a year.

If your loved one is elderly or suffers from a disability that detrimentally impacts their movement, continue reading to learn how to make the stairs that they have in their home safer so that they can avoid a fall-related accidents and injuries.

Stair Safety

There are a variety of environmental-based and personal-based factors that may result from trips and falls on stairs.

Older individuals and those with movement-limiting disabilities may find it difficult to remove clutter from the stairs, may find that they are unable to see as well, or that their medications detrimentally impact their balance.

Furthermore, inflammation, stiffness, and pain may result in a person’s inability to successfully maneuver up and down stairs. There are several options for those with stairs in the home that experience difficulties:

  1. You may help the individual establish a living area in the downstairs region of the home.
  2. The person may move to a one-level home.
  3. The senior or disabled may find assistive living to be an ideal option.
  4. Adaptations can be installed on and around the stairs so that the person can remain in their home, maintain their independence, and save money.

For the purpose and intent of this guide, we will focus on the 4th option – installing adaptations and also additional tips that can be used to protect your loved one.

Stair Safety Steps

When assisting your loved one to ensure their safety while using stairs, do the following:

  1. Encourage your loved one to move very slowly and practice caution when using the stairs.
  2. If your loved one does not feel well, encourage them to avoid using the stairs. This is especially true if they feel faint, are having balance issues, or feel dizzy.
  3. Make sure your loved one wears slip-resistant shoes that fit well when maneuvering up and down the stairs.
  4. Keep the stairs free from any type of debris – such as clothing, boxes, and other types of clutter.
  5. Ensure that animals are kept outdoors.


There are several types of adaptations that may be integrated into the stairs to ensure your loved one’s safety. These include:

  • Stairlifts – These often have a seat, may be stood on, or have a specially-designed platform for a wheelchair and/or mobility scooter.
  • Floor lifts – This will help your loved one move from one floor of a structure to another, without the use of the stairs.
  • Stair climbers – These electrical devices help move a person up and down stairs while on a scooter, wheelchair, or specially-built in seat.

All of these adaptations will help your loved one. When used in conjunction with stair rails, these products will help prevent trips, falls, and injuries. For more information on stair rails in New Jersey, contact us today by calling: (973) 946-8330


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