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Alzheimer's & Dementia
Kitchen & Dining
Living Room - Any Room
Smart Home
Outdoors - Wandering

Safer Stairs - Handrails

The Person
Needs adequate strength
Needs balance skills

Install on all stairs, 32 - 36" from floor to top of rail
Install on both sides so person can:
• use either arm
use both handrails on narrow staircase
Color-contrast rails & wall
Extend past last step


Adding or repairing handrails is one of the most important home improvements you can make if the person is still using stairs, and has adequate strength and balance skills. The right handrails can make all the difference in his/her ability to use the stairs.

Handrails should be installed on both sides of all staircases, whether for 1 step or 15. This allows the person to hold on with the stronger arm if he or she has a one-sided weakness due to a stroke. Or the person can hold on to both sides and use their upper body strength while climbing up or down. This is especially helpful if he or she has weak leg muscles or arthritic knees or hip joints.

Make sure the handrail is color-contrasted to the wall so it is easily seen.

If possible, extend the wooden handrail past the bottom step and/or add a curved metal bar if needed, so that the person has a support to hold onto when stepping up or down.

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