Handrails Guide: 5 Benefits of Accessible Hand Rails

Hand of elderly woman holding on to handrail.

If you have ever struggled with balance or rising from a seated position, then you know how useful it is to have a handrail nearby. Adding handrails can make a significance regarding the well-being of someone who finds moving challenging. Falls, near-falls, and fear of falling all top the list of concerns when determining if an elderly or mobility challenged person is safe in an independent setting.

What are Handrails?

Often, when we hear the term handrail, the first thing that comes to mind is a handrailing for a staircase. While it appears similar, the banister on a staircase is not the same as a handrail. A handrail is meant to assist those with mobility challenges and must meet Australian Standards.

A handrail designed to assist with accessibility has specific standards to meet. For example:

  • A handrail must be not less than 865mm above a stair tread’s nosing
  • In a hallway, a handrail must be 900 mm from the floor
  • A dowel handrail affixed to a wall must be 40 mm in diameter
  • A hand clearance of 50mm from the wall is required
  • A typical rail must support a weight of 110 kg.

What are the Five Main Benefits of Having Handrails in the Home?

Make the Bath and Shower Safe – Imagine being filled with fear every time you were about to shower or struggling each time you needed to get on or off the toilet. Countless Australians deal with this kind of concern every day. Most of the time, it is because of aging, an injury, or a condition that causes mobility difficulties. Adding handrails to assist with sitting and rising as well as getting in and out of the bathtub or shower can take the fear out of daily activities.

Kitchen Safety – While many people think of handrails in bathrooms, the kitchen is another area where it is common to slip and fall. If the falling person accidentally knocks over something made of glass or a boiling liquid from the stovetop, even more, significant injuries occur.

Often, a person struggling with mobility will depend on a counter or table to provide balance when reaching, rising, or sitting. Miscalculating the strength of these objects can lead to falls.

Adding well-placed handrails can prevent serious injuries or worse. An experienced modification expert has many options to alter a kitchen, making it more accessible and can suggest numerous ways to help make kitchens safer.

Disabled woman in the kitchen.

Safety Outdoors – Having handrails outside can save a life. Many walkways and steps have uneven places where people can easily lose their balance. This problem pertains to people of all ages and abilities. A careless step when you are distracted can lead to a fall. The odds of falling increase when there is inclement weather and areas become slippery.

So, having handrails offers peace of mind for anyone who struggles with balance for any reason. Outdoor handrails are also helpful to support objects you may be carrying, especially if you need to take a moment to catch your breath.

Essential if a Home has Ramps Indoors or Outside – A beneficial modification many people request is the addition of ramps to their home. Whether inside or outdoors, ramps make mobility significantly more manageable, especially for those in wheelchairs or scooters. People who depend on walkers and crutches also find ramps make mobility much simpler.

Unfortunately, ramps are an area where falls frequently happen if no handrail is present. Moving downward is enough to throw some people off balance. Outdoor ramps can become slippery if the weather is rainy. This is why handrails with ramps are so vital.

While it is the law for public buildings with ramps to have handrails in place, private homes have no restrictions. This makes it easy to overlook adding handrails when installing ramps. Although, accessibility experts would have handrails by ramps as a priority.

Handrails Add Value to Your Home – Even though the value handrails can bring to your home may not be at the top of your list for wanting to install them, they can give your property a boost should you decide to sell. As the population ages, those who are shopping for a home become more conscious of details like handrails and other modifications that improve accessibility. Knowing they are purchasing a home where safety has been a commodity often makes it worth extra money to the right buyers.

Handrail on tile wall.

Many alterations and additions can make a home safer. Handrails for elderly or mobility challenged individuals are a huge help and often extend independence. If you or someone you care about struggles with balance, handrails could be the answer. Feel free to contact AccessAble Home Modifications. Our skilled staff can answer your questions and set up an appointment with one of our accessibility experts. We like to visit your home to see what types of modifications would help you the most. Many of our customers are amazed by the difference handrails made in their homes. We can help keep you safer too.