Hand Rails to the rescue.
to the golden years.
Aging is inevitable and most people hope to do it gracefully, but the golden years can lose their luster for many seniors because of falls and injuries. Rather than wait until it becomes absolutely necessary to make concessions to age, anticipate some of the more common causes of injuries and take some steps to avoid them.
Many of the things you can do to help avoid falls and injuries are good ideas for every home, but are critical for seniors; we simply don't bounce as we once did in our youth.
Grab bars and rails at strategic locations around a home can be lifesavers. A bathroom is a particularly important place to do whatever you can to prevent falls; towel bars, soap dishes, faucet handles and shower doors are not grab bars. Grab bars need to be thick enough in diameter to give you something to hold on to when getting in or out of a tub/shower.
Grab bars come in a variety of finishes to match and/or blend with the tub/shower valve and other metals in the bathroom. Grab bars are best installed when the bathroom is under construction, but they can be installed after the fact albeit not as easily. And there are
suction cup grab bars that must be attached to a flat, clean and smooth surface.
Slipping and falling when using a bathtub or shower is a common accident. in addition to grab bars, a hand rail clamped to the side of a bathtub provides a stable sturdy grip when stepping in or out of the bath. The tub hand rails easily lock to the side of most bathtubs without the need for tools.
Handrails for steps and stairs are really important accessories both indoors and out. Most long flights of stairs have at least one handrail on one side of the stairs, two are best, but sometimes overlooked are the one or two steps to the garage or backyard. Even for just one or two steps a handrail can save the day when the steps are wet or icy.
My favorite railing is on the side of my bed. It is only 18-inches or so long but it gives me something to pull myself up to a sitting position on the side of the bed and to hold on to as I stand up. I hold onto the rail for a few seconds to get my balance.
There are several varieties available. The one on the left is a Carex Bed Support Rail and is stationary. The one on the right is from Healthcraft; it swings open.
I've had several friends who have either broken a hip or fractured their pelvis getting out of bed. It's always a question of did the person fall getting out of bed and then broke her hip or did her hip break causing her to fall on getting out of bed. In any case, a bed handrail will help to minimize the possibility of falling.
Individuals who are unsteady using a toilet will find a safety rails improves stability. Toilet safety hand rails provide assistance in sitting down and standing from a toilet. Arm height and arm width are adjustable in many models that attach directly to the toilet such as the one on the right. There is one style that attaches to the wall behind the toilet and fold down when needed.
Every household needs a stepladder; a kitchen chair is never a suitable ladder. There are a wide variety of stepladders, some are better than others; a
folding ladder with a hand rail is the best. The rail gives you support as you climb and work. I keep this type of stepladder on both floors of my house plus I have one in the garage. Make it easy to find and you won't be tempted to climb up on a chair instead of going to get the ladder.
When all you need is a small boost to reach a shelf, hang a picture or pull on the fan chain, a step stool with a hand rail is just the answer.
A vertical rail that reaches from floor to ceiling is useful in many positions about the house. Next to a chair or bed, this pole helps to steady a person as they sit down or stand up. They really aren't meant to provide total support for full body weight, but in special places can be very helpful.