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Home Adaptations for Elderly Relatives: Handrails

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If you help look after an older relative who has decided to stay in their own home, then you'll always be on the lookout for ways to make their lives easier and safer. They get around tolerably well at the moment, but you're conscious that they'll soon need some extra help.

As part of this process, you may be looking at making modifications to help them get around. Handrails are worth considering. How can these rails help and where should you put them?

How Handrails Help Older People

Older people may still be ambulatory, but they may be wobblier on their feet than they used to be. Your relative may have balance issues, especially when they get up from a sitting position. They may not be able to get up out of chairs on their own easily any more.

Sometimes, walking is a problem. They may walk fine on flat surfaces but have problems with steps. The act of lifting the legs to go up or down a step may unbalance them.

Handrails give additional support. They will steady your relative and give them something to hold on to if they need to pull themselves up.

How to Decide Where to Fit Handrails

Handrails can be useful in various places. To decide where best to fit rails, you need to work out where and when your relative has problems that a rail could fix. For example, if they have a couple of steps by their front door, then they may worry about falling down the steps or not being able to get up them. If they feel unsteady, a handrail on the wall by the door gives them something to hold on to.

The same principle works on stairs. If your relative finds that one banister isn't enough to make them feel secure going up or down stairs, then adding an additional rail on the other side of the stairs gives them two rails for support.

Handrails are particularly useful in bathrooms. A rail by a toilet makes it easier to get up off the toilet if your relative has problems standing up from a sitting position. A handrail in the bath does the same job.

If you think that adding some handrails will make life easier for your relative, then contact a company that provides in-home age care. As well as providing personal services, a company like this can often help you adapt a home to make living in it easier for older people.