Deck Safety for Senior Citizens

Relaxing out in the warm Texas sun is a favorite pastime for people of all ages. Senior Citizens Day is the perfect opportunity to get the family together out on the deck for a little quality time. As a way to say thank you for all the years of love and care, take the time to inspect your parent or grandparent’s deck for repairs before everyone gets there.

Deck Protection from Senior Citizens

3 Top Repairs to Make on a Senior Citizen’s Deck

Many of the biggest deck safety concerns aren’t difficult to fix, but they could cause serious injury if left undone. Here are three of the top repairs that should be made on a senior citizen’s deck.

Solid Handrails on the Stairs – Handrails are there to provide stability and support, something seniors with limited mobility need more than others. Test the handrails for any sign of weakness and loose fittings. They should be able to support at least 200 pounds of pressure being put downward on the rails or when pulled away from the base.

If there is any movement check the fasteners. Fasteners that are in good condition can be tightened. If they’re worse for wear replace them all together. If a wooden handrail shows signs of decay or a metal handrail is rusted it’s best to remove what’s there and install a new handrail.

Well-lit Staircase and Deck Surface – As we age our eyesight just isn’t what it used to be. Between diseases like cataracts and glaucoma to common conditions like loss of peripheral vision and presbyopia, the possibility for falls and slips can increase in areas that aren’t well-lit.

Take a look at the deck during the late afternoon and evening to assess the lighting that is already in place and where lighting can be added to improve visibility. Spots to pay particular attention to include entrances and exits onto the deck, staircases and around the edge of the deck. Today there are many lighting solutions for illuminating a deck. Some systems can even be built into posts, steps and railings then wired so that they can easily be controlled with the flip of a switch.

Level, Even Decking – A deck that isn’t level or even a single board that’s popped up can trip up anyone, but falls are a serious concern for seniors. When we reach the age of 75 or older the rate of nonfatal, yet medically significant falls dramatically increases, however 1 in 3 people over the age of 65 have a fall each year. The result can be hospitalization, hip fractures and brain injury.

The CDC has emphasized the importance of improving home safety for seniors to prevent falls and this includes areas outside of the house. Do a thorough inspection of the decking to make sure all boards are lying flat and fastened securely. Changes in temperature over time can often cause boards to swell and shrink. The movement allows nails to come loose and pop up along with the boards. Use a shim and prying tool to carefully remove the loose nails and replace them with deck screws.

Also check the deck to ensure it’s level. A very slight slope is good for drainage, but anything over ¼” off could be hazardous and even affect the structural integrity of the deck. Careful inspection will need to be done to find the source of the problem so it can be repaired as soon as possible.

If you plan to completely replace a loved ones old deck or build them a new outdoor space to enjoy on Senior Citizens Day come on by the TimberTown Austin lumberyard in Pflugerville. We have a huge selection of durable woods that will weather well in Central Texas. Our experts can also provide you with design ideas to fit the needs of your parents or grandparents.

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