Thanks to the advances in medical science, people are living longer all over the world. As a result, the number of people living beyond their sixties has grown significantly over last few years. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the proportion of the world’s population over 60 years will nearly double from 12% to 22% between 2015 and 2050.

In other words, the need for elderly care will rise in the coming years. Even today, many ageing adults, all over the world, including the UK, are living with the help of a caregiver. Most caregivers are family members who look after their loved ones.

If you have a senior family member that requires care due to limited mobility, you know that moving them up and down the stairs is extremely difficult. Unfortunately, not many homes or buildings have accessible stairs or even lifts. However, there are a few ways you can help the elderly to climb up and down the stairs.

Let’s see what those are.

Helping Elders Who Are Not Wheelchair-Bound Move up and down the Stairs

If your loved one is not wheelchair-bound, i.e. if they can stand up and walk with the help of a cane, you can help them climb up and down the stairs using different methods. The good news is, you can help the elderly without the need of a stair climber for home.

However, you will need to make a few arrangements and know how to use a few simple mobility accessories such as a safety gait belt. Also known as a transfer belt, using a gait belt safely is one of the most important caregiving skills you will need to learn.

1. Using a Gait Belt

A gait belt is a simple safety device that you can use to help an elderly or a patient to sit, stand, and even walk. Most gait belts are made from canvas and have a plastic or a metal buckle. You can use the buckle to adjust the length of the belt around the waist and secure it firmly.

This simple equipment, however, is suitable only if the elderly person has some mobility. If your loved one has some mobility, a gait belt is enough to help them climb stairs, otherwise a stair climbing wheelchair is ideal.

Here’s how:

  • First, you need to help your loved one into a sitting position.
  • You will need to secure the belt firmly around the waist of your loved one. However, it shouldn’t be too tight.
  • Choose a belt wide enough so as not to cause any injury to your loved one. Belts with a short width often dig into the skin if you have to suddenly grasp or pull your loved one.
  • Your stairs will need to have handrails. If you haven’t already installed them, get them placed right away.
  • Your loved one should hold the handrail with one hand and the cane in the other.
  • Stand behind and on the side of your loved one by which they are holding the cane. With one hand, using an underhanded grip, you can hold the gait belt. Use your other hand to support the elder as they start climbing the stairs.
  • Ask the elder to climb up or go down one stair at a time, starting with their weaker leg first, then the stronger one, followed by the cane. All three should be on each step before climbing the next one.

In addition to the gait belt and installing handrails, you should also think of installing stair treads on both indoor or outdoor stairs. It is an incredibly inexpensive and easy way to help increase the mobility of your loved ones in and around the house.

Helping Wheelchair-Bound Elderly Move up and down the Stairs

When it comes to wheelchair-bound seniors, getting up and down the stair becomes a real challenge. However, thanks to advances in mobility technology, a variety of stair climbing wheelchair solutions are available today.

These mobility solutions are designed to help not just the elderly and adults, but also children with disability or limited mobility to climb up and down the stairs. If your loved one is suffering from limited mobility due to ageing, you may have probably heard of the electrically-powered stair climber for home.

Usually, the powered stair climbers come in two types:

1. Stair Climber Lift

This is the simplest stair climbing solution you can find for the elderly with limited mobility. It usually comprises a wall-mounted, electrically-powered lift with a seat. It is also called stairlift.

The lift runs on fixed rails anchored to the stair wall, moving up and down when the switch is turned on. The major disadvantage of stairlifts, however, is the cost. Stair Lifts are the most expensive of options. They also require the transfer of your loved one from wheelchair to the seat.

Also, unless you have a very large staircase it’s not possible to fit one. There’s the added complication that the caregiver can’t help the elderly when the lift is moving. If your loved one has difficulty being transferred over from the wheelchair, it is better to choose a portable stair climbing wheelchair equipment from our Skyline or Sky Climber range, which brings us to the next point.

2. Portable Stair Climber for Home and Outdoor Use

Portable stair climbing wheelchair equipment is a brilliant battery-powered machine that can help increase the mobility of your loved one. Some of these mobility solutions come with a seat of their own, while others can be attached to the wheelchair directly.

The latter allows you to help your elderly relative or patient climb stairs without having to transfer them from their wheelchair. You can charge it quickly to ensure extended use. One of the biggest advantages over stair lifts is that as it is portable, you also can pack it and carry it wherever you go.

In other words, your loved one can not only climb stairs in their home, but also in public buildings, malls, and hotels. They can lead a more fulfilling and connected social life due to this increased accessibility.

One of the most important stair climber benefits is that as a caregiver, you can learn to operate the equipment easily. The Stair Climbing Company not only offers you training, but also provides a FREE on-site visit, allowing you to see the stair climber for home working in the actual environment.

When using a stair climbing wheelchair solution like this, you must keep the following in mind:

  • If you are using a stair climber that attaches directly to the wheelchair, make sure to remove any extra weight or loose items from the wheelchair first. Loose items like a purse or a backpack can be a safety hazard when climbing stairs.
  • The back of the wheelchair should always face the stairs, and the caregiver should be behind the wheelchair, holding the stair climber handle. As it is battery-powered, you won’t need much strength while moving, however, do make sure to hold the climber firmly.
  • Make sure to ask the person you’re assisting to sit back and relax when you are moving them up and down the stairs. Communicate with them continuously if it helps them stay calm when moving.
  • Some people may be afraid of tipping back. As you will need to tip the wheelchair back a little before you start climbing the stairs, if it helps, try explaining what will happen before starting. It may help them calm down.
  • Make sure to service the stair climbing wheelchair equipment regularly to keep it in excellent working condition. If you have any issues or doubts, contact the tech support immediately.

Parting Words

Taking care of an elderly person is an emotionally and physically demanding responsibility. It is particularly challenging to overcome limited mobility and ensure they have a good social life. That’s why having a battery-powered, highly-versatile, and easy-to-use stair climbing wheelchair equipment is absolutely necessary. Hopefully, through this post, you will understand the various ways to help your loved one climb stairs with ease. Feel free to talk about your accessibility needs in the comments section. We will be more than happy to help you out. Contact us today if you have any questions.

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