Tripping can be a little embarrassing, at best; and at worst, result in an ambulance ride to the hospital. As our bodies get older, we need to be more conscious of hazards around the house that could cause injury. Growing up, you may never have noticed how uneven the floorboards in the entryway are, but an older adult with balance troubles will feel that disparity when navigating the house.
Falling may not be that big of a deal for younger people, but in 2013, around 25,500 older adults (aged 65 or older) died from unintentional fall injuries, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Taking the time to fix up imperfections around the house can save you and your loved ones from a potentially life-threatening fall.
Smoothing out the flooring is not the only area of the home you should focus on when making safety improvements, though. Asking someone to come in and perform a home inspection is a great way to discover what other areas of your home need an upgrade.
For starters, check to make sure your railing isn't loose. You may have noticed it jiggling a little bit the last time you moseyed up the steps. Allowing the railing to continue as is would be a major mistake. Go retrieve your tools and get to work tightening any screws that may have come loose over the years. Make sure your handrail is securely anchored to the wall by locating the studs and attaching the bracket to it. Other types of railings, like newel posts and balusters may require more work than a handrail, but they are just as important to stabilize. Securing this vital safety tool could save you or others the next time you slip on the staircase.
Another common danger with steps is carpeting. The carpet on your stairs should be stretched tight without any wrinkles. There are a variety of reasons why your carpet may be buckling, from humidity to improper installation, but fixing it right away should be your main concern. To do this, you will probably need to call in a professional and have them stretch and secure your carpet into its proper place.
On the flip side, if you don't have any carpet to worry about, consider whether your wooden stairs are too slick. There are several options for adding a little tread to your slippery stairs, such as carpet and coatings. When using an anti-slip coating, you can essentially apply the substance like paint. If you're worried about the way the new coating will look, you can rest assured it will not clash with your home decor. The coatings come in clear and color options, which either allow you to keep your floors looking the same with a clear coat or choose something that matches your home color scheme.
Height and depth
When stair height and depth are a little abnormal it is something you notice right away, either because you suddenly feel unsteady on the steps or because you are tripping on their great height. A stair's tread-to-riser ratio can be a cause for alarm because if the stairs are too narrow, you'll be more likely to slip or miss a stair, and if they are too high, you could catch your foot on one. According to the ASHI Reporter, step dimensions should have a minimum of 11 inches for the tread depth and a maximum of 7 inches for the riser. Adjusting the size of your steps is a project that can be a little more costly, so before you make any decisions, be sure to get a home inspection for an unbiased, professional opinion.