Assisting an Aging in Place Family Member.

An aging in place family member has special needs as they reach their twilight years.  In this particular case, an aging in place family member, now using a walker, needed assistance to get to his bed where the walker would not reach.  The walker could only bring this person to one end of the room.  A handrail of some fashion needed to be installed so as to prevent falls.  Also, when getting up from bed, this elderly member could pull himself from the bed into an upright position.  The handrail provided additional support so the walker could be reached.

Aging in Place and Aging in place with family
handrail block
aging in place








aging in place
securing the handrail

In this particular case, some considerations had to be made regarding the distance off the wall and the size of the handrail.  This elderly person has gout and severe arthritis in his hands.  Wood as a typical material was not practical due to the thickness.

I went to Home Depot and examined other options.  I needed an item that was smooth, very strong, already painted and had a smaller diameter to permit easy grasping by an elderly person with severe gout in their hands.  I determined that a closet pole would satisfy all of his needs.

Spacing the handrail needed to be carefully placed.  I first proposed the location by holding the handrail up and used painters tape to hold up the blocks.  I then had another family member ascertain if the location would be optimum.  After the location was determined I went to work.  I used standard two by four lumber for two blocks.  I cut both top and bottom at a 45 degree angle.  My trim screws were only 2.5 inches long.  By creating a thinner surface, it allowed the screw to go through the drywall into the bottom sill place.  Three screws were used.

The two by four blocks created the needed space behind the handrail for this aging family to grasp.  The blocks also permitted me to position the handrail low enough for the blinds and curtains to close without interference.  The handrail was secured with two #10 pan head metal screws, 2.5 inches long.

The solution has created a much safer pathway to and from the bed.  As many of you may be aware, any kind of fall for an elderly person aging in place can have serious consequences to that person.