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Friday, September 25, 2009

Tips for Handicapped Seniors Traveling in RV's

Handicapped seniors find many creative ways to adapt their RV's for accessiblity and safety. Many "age in place" in their RV's, and use their RV's as a main residence, vs. settling down in a house, condo or apartment.

1. Falls on steps are a major cause of hospitalizations for seniors. RV steps are notoriously shakey or wobbly and often have a shallow place to put the foot. They also lack handrails. Often they are steep as well. First priority: get a sturdy, steady set of steps with handrails, or a set of portable ramps.

An internet search for RV steps, portable steps, or portable ramps will show you many websites where these are available.

2. Adapt your RV for handicap accessiblity as much as possible by having a carpenter build safer steps inside as well. For instance, many people have a fifth wheel trailer with steep steps to the raised section. A recent visit to a friend's RV showed that the steps were 9" tall steps. With an 18" rise to the higher trailer section these steps could be rebuilt with 3 6" tall steps instead of 2 9" tall steps.

3. Remove all throw rugs as these are well known hazards that lead to many falls and hospitalizations for seniors.

4. Be sure floor surfaces are either carpeted or have textured traction to avoid a slip and fall on a wet floor.

5. Having a travel companion is safer than traveling alone as well. Seniors who live alone are at risk since there is no one to get help if someone is too ill or injured to call for help. Reducing social isolation has been shown to reduce the
risk of dementia as well.

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