Written by Ken Tritle, Realtor®, Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES®), DreamWell Homes Realty in San Diego County, Lic# 01892793 Call/text 760-798-9024, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for our Newsletter Email Guide to Relocating or Retiring to San Diego here.
When I tumbled down the stairs at my home, as my 5-year-old son stood at the top, I was paralyzed with fear. As pain seared through my shoulder, neck, and hip, I thought I had broken something. I sobbed uncontrollably while thinking of the physical and life-altering repercussions.
I then thought about all the people I had counseled about the importance of taking precautions to prevent falls and realized that I was just as vulnerable.
I was fortunate that the pain and bruises healed in a few days. But this experience was a harsh reminder of the potential danger lurking within our own homes and reinforced the urgent need to be vigilant and proactive in preventing stair-related accidents.
As my family plans for our future, there is no question that we must prioritize moving to a single-story home where we can safely age-in-place.
Staircases may seem like an innocent and ubiquitous part of our daily lives, but they are also a source of danger, particularly when it comes to falling down the stairs.
Each year, thousands of people are injured or killed in stair-related accidents, and it’s important to understand the risks and take steps to prevent them.
One of the most common causes of stair-related accidents is a lack of proper maintenance.
Loose or missing handrails, uneven steps, and poor lighting can all contribute to slips, trips, and falls. It is important to regularly check and maintain staircases in your home to ensure they are safe and in good condition.
Another major risk factor is inattention or distraction.
People who are busy, in a hurry, or not paying attention are more likely to fall down the stairs.
Whether it’s texting while walking, carrying items that obstruct your view, or simply not looking where you’re going, distractions can make it easy to miss a step or stumble.
It’s important to stay focused and alert when using the stairs, and to avoid multitasking or other distractions that can increase the risk of falling.
Since we work with a great number of seniors, we often hear of personal stories in relation to this.
By far the one mishap that is most frequent involves carrying a laundry basket. These are most definitely large enough to obstruct one’s view of the steps below, and awkward to carry too.
Age is also a significant risk factor for stair-related accidents.
As we get older, our balance and mobility may decline, making it more difficult to navigate stairs safely. In addition, older adults may have conditions such as osteoarthritis, which can make it more difficult to climb stairs or use handrails.
If you or a loved one is older or has mobility issues, it may be necessary to take extra precautions to prevent falls, such as installing handrails or stairlifts.
Another important factor in stair-related accidents is the design of the staircase.
Staircases with narrow treads, steep inclines, or no handrails are more dangerous than those that are well-designed and built to code.
When building or remodeling a home, it’s important to ensure that the staircase is designed with safety in mind and meets all relevant building codes and standards.
If you, or a loved one is living with a staircase that is likely to be a serious danger, consider making a move to a single-story home or renovate the home.
Yes, costs can be high whether you choose to move or renovate. But weigh those costs against a serious injury – or worse – for you or a loved one, and perhaps a clearer path forward will emerge for you.
Consider the following suggestions:
- Move to a single-story home: This is a great option for those who are looking to age-in-place or for those who want to eliminate the risk of falls associated with stairs.
- Master on main: For those who cannot or do not want to move to a single-story home, consider a house with a master bedroom on the main floor. This will allow for easier and safer access to the bedroom without the need to use stairs.
- Install a stairlift or elevator: For those who want to remain in a multi-story home, installing a stairlift or elevator can be an effective way to eliminate the risk of falls on the stairs.
- Move the laundry downstairs: Carrying laundry baskets up and down the stairs is a common cause of stair-related accidents. Moving the laundry to the main level of the home can help reduce the risk of falls.
- Renovate to make the home single-level living: Renovating the home to create a single-level living space is another option to consider. This can be achieved by converting a room into a bedroom or by building an addition to the home.
By taking these steps, you can help prevent falls on the stairs and promote a safer living environment for you and your loved ones.
When the time is right for you to make a move to a safer home, our experienced real estate agents can help you find the perfect home that meets your needs and budget.
We specialize in helping seniors and their families navigate the real estate market, and we are committed to helping you find a home that is safe, comfortable, and affordable.
Contact us to learn more about your options and how we can help you find the perfect home for your needs.
Related Blog Article: Why Making a Move in Advance is Smarter than Being Forced to
Please call or text DreamWell Homes Realty at this telephone number 760-798-9024.