Keeping safe: stairs and keeping steady

Advice and tips for people living with dementia to make stairs safe and reduce risk of falling.

Stairs and keeping steady

Falls on stairs and steps can cause injuries, so it is important to make them safe. If you rent your home you may need to speak to the landlord or letting agent about making any adjustments.

  • If carpets or floor coverings are worn or damaged you should replace them.
  • Try to make sure any banisters are sturdy.
  • Make sure you can clearly see the edges of each step  by using paint or ‘nosing’ (which is special stair edging).
  • Consider fitting easy-grip handrails on the walls on both sides of the stairs.
  • Keep stairs free from clutter, and try not to carry too  much when using them.

Reducing your risk of falls

You can reduce your risk of falling by doing strength or balance exercises twice a week. These include sitting, standing and walking exercises. Your GP could also refer you to a physiotherapist.

Home hazard tips

Check your home for potential hazards such as rugs, loose or worn carpets, furniture or objects lying around and note the following tips:

  • Make sure your house is well lit, especially in the hall, landing and on the stairs.
  • Keep a torch by the bed.
  • Make sure electrical items are close to sockets to avoid trailing wires and flexes along the floor.
  • If you have mobility or back problems, have a letter tray fitted on your front door to collect  the post.
  • Be careful when trying to get to something or somewhere that is out of reach. Make sure you have enough support and a secure footing.
  • Stand up slowly when getting up from chairs  or out of bed.
  • Have regular eye tests.
  • Avoid wearing clothes that are too long and  may cause you to trip up.
  • If the drugs you’ve been prescribed are making you feel dizzy, keep taking them but talk to your GP about it.
  • Patterned carpets can cause perception problems for some people – think about replacing with a plain version. Avoid dark  rugs which may look like obstacles or holes  in the floor.
  • Consider fitting grab rails, especially on  the stairs and in the bathroom.
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