Last Updated: July 21, 2020
For seniors, a sturdy handrail is about more than safety. A sturdy handrail is about peace of mind. Many older people live with arthritis, decreased mobility, heart disease, osteoporosis, and other medical issues that make a handrail crucial to prevent dangerous falls. So if you’re building a new railing – or adding on to an existing railing – be sure to keep railing safety for the elderly in mind. Read on to find out how.
Railing Safety for the Elderly
Why Railing Safety Matters
As our bodies lose strength and agility, mounting or descending a set of stairs can become tremendously difficult. This decreased mobility means that falls are more likely, and these falls can spell disaster for seniors. Older bodies do not cope with trauma as quickly or thoroughly as younger bodies, which means that a minor fall can result in a severe injury or even death. Just one bad fall can cause lacerations, broken bones, a hip fracture, or head trauma, amongst other injuries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults over the age of 65 falls each year, with more than 22,000 seniors dying from unintentional injuries caused by falls in 2011. Overall, falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors, making handrail safety a critical issue that should not be overlooked.
ADA-Compliant Railings for Seniors
Although there are ways for seniors to prevent falls – things like strength exercises and practical shoes – it is also crucial to provide sturdy and supportive handrails to give seniors the assistance they need. If you’re shopping for railings, consider using ADA-compliant handrails to make your property as accessible as possible. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) has outlined a series of handrail compliance standards that prioritize three things: safety, consistency, and overall accessibility for individuals with disabilities or mobility issues. An ADA-compliant handrail adheres to ADA standards by providing a continuous, smooth, and supportive surface. Of course, ADA-compliant handrails are a great addition to any home. However, they are especially important for commercial spaces if you want to keep your business accessible to individuals of all mobility and ability levels.
Other Important Railing Qualities
When installing a new railing or adding on to an existing railing, there are several other considerations you’ll want to keep in mind:
- Sturdiness: If you’re concerned about railing safety for the elderly, decorative features and colors should not be your primary concern. Instead, focus on finding a sturdy railing that won’t let your seniors down. The railing should be able to support a large amount of weight without compromising its stability.
- Quality: Choose a railing from a trusted manufacturer to ensure that you’re using strong, reliable, and high-quality materials. In addition, you’ll want to take your time with the installation. You can also hire a professional if you’re not comfortable installing the railing yourself. When it comes to accessibility, quality construction and installation are both key.
- Vendor Reputation: Ultimately, it’s important to identify a railing vendor with a strong understanding of the intricacies of ADA standards. It’s also a good idea to work with a vendor offering a solid understanding of both local commercial building codes and ADA requirements.
In MMC Fencing & Railing’s online store, you’ll find the aluminum continuous handrail, an ADA-compliant system that comes with a lifetime limited warranty. The railing is durable and reliable, and it is available in all of our standard powder coating colors. The aluminum continuous handrail also complements a number of different railing systems.
So, why do continuous railings matter for seniors? Think of it this way: if you had mobility issues, a gap in a handrail could be a huge source of stress. A gap in a handrail could also cause a fall, leading to potential injury. Continuous railings eliminate that possibility by offering a nonstop source of support for individuals with mobility issues. In addition, continuous railings are an excellent addition to standard Westbury Aluminum Railing systems. This makes these railing systems a great option for public areas that need to meet code requirements.
Installing a Safe Handrail
Continuous aluminum handrails are extremely easy to install. They also mesh well with existing railings if you’d like to add onto a less ADA-compliant system. The continuous aluminum handrail system can be mounted on any brand of vinyl railing system, composite railing system, or wood railing system. That means you don’t have to worry about the ADA-compliant handrail appearing out of place with the rest of your railing system. However, you can install the continuous handrail as a stand-alone rail if you like. You don’t necessarily need to hire a professional to install your handrail. Our aluminum handrail systems are also extremely easy to install. Each handrail kit contains everything you need for installation:
- One 3/8″ aluminum handrail available in 8′, 10′, and 16′ lengths
- A strong internal connector between each connection point to hold the rail’s components together without screws
- One 1/8″ collar ring to cover connection points
- Continuous 180-degree handrail return
- Tapered one-piece wall return
- Beveled internal end cap
- Lifetime limited warranty to protect your investment
- Instructions for easy installation
If you’re interested in purchasing ADA-compliant handrails, be sure to check out MMC Fencing & Railing. Our team members are experts on railing safety for the elderly and can walk you through the safest, most economical railing options for your property. Ultimately, ADA compliance and handrail quality are your responsibility if you want to ensure your property is accessible for the elderly and anyone with mobility issues.
Now that you’ve explored railing options for the elderly, are you ready to make your selection? When you need an expert who can walk you through purchasing and caring for an exterior aluminum railing or fencing system, MMC Fencing & Railing is here for you. In our online shop, we sell aluminum and vinyl railing in a variety of styles and colors. So no matter what you’re looking for and no matter how large or small your budget, you’re sure to find something beautiful. Give us a call at 866-931-5002 to get started or to ask about installation options. We look forward to hearing from you!