Baby Boomers and the Stair Climb to the Top

Baby Boomers and the Stair Climb to the Top

Do you get that idea to think twice before going up and down stairs? With age and between knee problems, balance and endurance issues, weakness, and other concerns, stair climbing both inside and outside a building can be challenging.

Luckily there are lots of things we can do to minimize the negative effect of stairs on our lives. We can make simple changes in our daily routine, our environment, or ourselves. There are simple structures that can be of assistance. We can also get some high-tech options to help us out. Let’s explore how to make stairs more manageable for everyone.

Simple Life Hacks

Many people move to a one-floor apartment in an elevator building when they get older. In this scenario, you don’t have to spend energy or thoughts on managing stairs just to get in and out of your home. That energy and those thoughts could be used for other things. It can be a kind of carefree lifestyle.

Of course, not everyone can or wants to move. If you live in a multistory house, you can rearrange things so that most of your daily living can be on one floor. You could move your bedroom to the first floor. There might be an easy way of doing this, or you might need to do some renovating to add a room to the first floor or make improvements to the first-floor bathroom.

Simple Saftey Steps

Ramps, handrails, and lighting are simple structures you could add to stairs to make them easier.


Ramps eliminate the need to step up and down. They make the transition between levels smoother. Ramps can be much easier on the knees, hips, and ankles. You are not likely to trip over a ramp as you might on the stairs. Ramps can be purchased or custom-made. 

Grade of the Ramp

You have to be careful that you don’t make a ramp too steep. That could be even more dangerous than stairs. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) specifies that the maximum slope of a ramp is 1:12 for commercial buildings. So for every foot of height, you need 12 feet of ramp. The ADA also says that ramps should be at least 3 feet wide. If there is not enough room directly in front of the stairs for a ramp, you can have a ramp that has switchbacks with a landing at each point where it changes direction.


Handrails on stairs, and ramps as well, are really important. A survey of older adults indicated that handrails on stairs and ramps are very important to a feeling of safety. Generally, people would prefer stairs with handrails over a ramp without handrails. If you don’t have handrails on your stairs, inside or outside, installing them would be a significant increase in safety. Handrails on both sides of the stairs are better than just one side.


Lighting on stairs and ramps is another safety consideration. This is another factor that is important for interior and exterior stairs. People feel more uncertain and they are more likely to trip in bad lighting. There could be objects on the ground to trip over that you can’t see in the shadows and the insecurity of not being able to see the ground makes a trip or fall more likely.

High Tech Options

Stair assists, stair glides and home elevators are high-tech options to help people with stairs. These options are expensive and require permanent changes to your home.

Stair Assist

A stair assist attaches to a special handrail or grab bar on the wall by the stairs. It provides a very sturdy, two-handed device to hold onto as you move up and down the stairs. This is great for someone with good joints that wants to remain as active as possible, but worries about tripping and falling. 

Stair Glides

There are different types of stair glides. In a sit-down stair glide, you sit on a seat and it takes you up the stairs on a track at the side of the stairs. There are also incline platform stair glides and vertical platform stair glides that allow a standing person, wheelchair, or scooter to go up and down the stairs. The incline gildes usually travel along a rail next to the steps just like the ones where you sit on a seat. The vertical platform lifts go straight up next to the steps. The sitting stair glides and platform stair glides are found both on the interior and exterior stairs of a home. 

There are many fine companies that make stair glides. Some of the best ones are Bruno Stair Lifts, Handicare, Stannah, and Harmar.

Home Elevators

If you are really ambitious, you could get a home elevator. There are many different styles of home elevators that can be retrofitted to your home. Some of them take up very little space. Reputable home elevator companies include Savaria, Ameriglide, and Stiltz.

Make sure you stay safe at home and when you are out and about. Avoiding going up and down levels is one way to keep from tripping or falling down stairs. Using handrails and good lighting on stairs and ramps is important when you are traveling from one level to another. Stair glides and elevators can help you avoid unnecessary stairs. Stay safe and be active!


Related Posts ...

Skip to content