Hand rail walk way thing

Hi guys

My dad is still able to take a few steps if we keep telling him to take big steps, or say LEFT RIGHT, but we need to hold him whilst he walks.

I'm thinking of making some sort of a hand rail walkway down the garden. So that he can hold onto the bars on either side and walk independently (with me behind for security of course)

wanted to ask if anyone else had maybe done this, if so how did you go about doing it, because at the moment I don't know where to start. I just think the more he walks and gets out and about the more it will slow down the bloomin progression.

i know they have something like this in the day centre, physio area. but it would be nice to have something in the garden which we could use whenever we wish, rather than having to keep driving down to the hospital.

looking forward to your replies.


18 Replies

  • I could not agree with you more, Mustafa, about the benefits of motion and getting outside, but I'm sorry, I don't know how you might build the walkway. We have a long aluminum ramp with handrails that was installed so we could get around the stairs into the house, and when the weather is good my partner can walk up and down very nicely, using both hands, with me behind him, just as you describe. It's lovely to see him go practically on his own; otherwise he walks very little. I hope someone else has some more practical advice. Best wishes, ec

  • Hi EC, thanks for your message, where did you get this aluminium ramp from? does it have hand rails on either sides?

  • Hi, Mustafa. I see you are in the UK. Our ramp was installed by a local company here in the US. It has rails on both sides, but since it is meant to accommodate a wheelchair it is a little wide for ideal walking support, but it is okay. The ramp is a modular thing. One day a guy came and took measurements. A few weeks later and he was back with the pieces. It took one man one day to put it together. It is bigger than I had imagined it would be. He had to dismantle part of the wooden stairs to the door because the ramp fit right over them, and I had to move some of my garden plants. It was fast, though! It goes 12 feet to the right and then there is an 8-foot deck, and it turns back to the left for another 12 feet to the ground in front of the stairs. I love it. I'm sorry I don't know how much it cost, as it was subsidized by the government, but I would be surprised if something like it isn't available where you are.

    I hope you can find something that works for your father. Good luck. Ec

  • Hi Mustafa, we did this but only for one side of the pathway. We used fence posts set in quick drying concrete from the DIY store (B&Q in the UK) and wooden handrails from the same place. The rail is attached by using handrail brackets. I helped my brother put the rail up, holding the posts up against a spirit level until the cement set. It didn't take long as it was very quick drying. I also treated it all with wood preserver afterwards. It took a bit of time but not very long so with help it shouldn't be too difficult. We also put one on our sloping drive which is used by many of our visitors as well. Instead of cementing the posts in, we did think of using the metal fence post spikes you can get but my brother decided on cement instead. I'll post a photo if my explanation isn't clear. It's too dark to take one and I'm still in my PJs at the moment.


  • Thanks NannaB, a photo would be great, thank you!

  • Dear Mustafa

    We used it for my mom. İt was really good things for her life independently. You need to follow up your dad carefully because my mom fallen sometimes when she used it.

    Best regards


  • If you unsure get a builder if you can afford it, if your in UK local authority maybe able to advise who they use to make those sort of alterations, good luck

  • Hi Mustafa,

    You are correct in that "keeping moving" will slow the progression, and the vitamin D from sunshine, and the fresh air are very valuable, but I suspect that falls lead to faster progression too so remaining upright is a big priority.

    I am concerned that walking independently with a hand rail on either side could be of short term benefit as it requires quite a lot of conscious effort and co-ordination. I think I would steer you in the direction of some sort of rollator that she could walk behind, or possibly some sort of harness attached to something tracking like overhead; not that I know of anything commercially available. How is your loved one in water? My local pool has a hoist to assist getting in and out of the water. I applaud your thinking though, getting outdoors is hugely important. :)

  • Hi, don't think my dad has ever been in a pool before, but its a good idea, I will need to check with my local leisure centre. what kind of exercise did you do with your loved one in the pool exactly?

    my dad has bit of a weak or bad arm, when we go shopping at the supermarket, dad is in a wheelchair, but after a while we go to a quiet aisle, and I make him walk holding onto the handles of the wheelchair. I hold him at his waist and he takes some really good steps, but he complains very quickly that his arm hurts, hence why I don't think a rollator is the way to go.

    a harness attached to something tracking like overhead would be excellent, Ive dreamt of having such a thing installed in the house so my dad can walk freely wherever he wishes without having to worry about him falling over, but don't think there is such a thing out there

  • Hi Mustafa,

    I must confess to never taking my mum to the pool. I did suggest it, but she was terrified of water. If your dad has never been a swimmer, it probably isn't great for him either. I had thought of the pool because properly assisted, it would be a safe environment for exercise. Simply being in a pool, moving against the weight of the water will strengthen muscles, but as I said, much better for former swimmers because "muscle memory" would have helped him.

    The progressive nature of these conditions makes it difficult to invest. A double hand-rail might be ideal for him this month, but might be redundant soon. There is no doubt that walking would be good for him provided the risk of falling is minimized, but it is good for him because it will cause him to breathe deeper, get his blood pumping better, reduce achiness (is that a word?!) similar benefits can be achieved through chair based exercises. Deep breathing, shoulder shrugs, ankle rotations, gentle arm wrestling(!) Helping him stand up and turning him in a circle before sitting him down again will all help him to re-position and keep him more comfortable and free of sores. Attending to his psychological well-being is also important. He will still enjoy and be interested in all those things he enjoyed before illness struck. Laughter really is important medicine. Exposure to positive emotions. The company of loved ones who will help him to look outwards rather than asking him how he feels today. Good nutrition. Sunshine.

    It is wonderful that you are looking at equipment to improve his quality of life. In the long term the best investment we made was a paperless, washer, dryer loo (Clos-O-Mat) in a wet-room bathroom. It made life very much better for her, me and the other carers.

    Very best wishes to you and your family.


  • Where do you live . Here in s Wales or at least in the area I live , we have what is called care and repair and the OTs can refer them to you . They help with this sort of thing . Put grab rail stair rails , small step all sorts of things . Free up to a point

  • Hi, we live in Slough, Berkshire

    yes we have had an OT come out and they have installed some things in the house such as a grab rail in the toilet and bath, wasn't sure if they would do something like this for us, but its worth a shot. Will try call them today.

  • Hi Mustafa, a lot of the replies have covered what I had in mind. If you have a path next to a wall or strong fence then you could fix a wooden rail using handrail brackets. I would be worried about a freestanding structure, even with cemented in posts as it would be difficult to make it strong enough to accommodate the wobbles or someone falling against it.

    I think the best option is, as cabbagecottage suggests, is to contact your OT and see who they use. Most seem to like the galvanised metal rails and supports - not pretty but very strong.

    Best of luck.

  • Thanks for your advise Tokki, I will give the OT a call

  • Mustafa, If you are in the US and he was a veteran you might be able to get them to build a ramp for you. Exercise is the best thing for him. I put a steel post in the house in the bathroom, took out the sliding mirror doors to do it, so that he has something very sturdy to hold on to and can go to the bathroom himself. It is 6 ft long and allows him more safety and security. He is not afraid that he will fall. Oh yes his walker goes in there as well, plus 2 hand rails on either side of the commode, just in case. They need to walk as much as possible to keep themselves stronger.

  • Do It! I don't know how much it will slow the progression...maybe some maybe none...but it gives him a daily activity that he will get used to and even manage himself. My husband has hand rails from his ramp. he can get to and from house relatively easily and independently with the use of the hand rails. The hardest part is the turning of the corner...it took him alot of learnin' to continue using one hand rail while the other had turned the corner. But once he learned, he is now even able to carry the groceries if I hook the bag on his wrist....He still cannot manage through the door by himself that's where I have to take over...but for the 36 feet of ramp...it's all him walker free and using the hand rail! So make sure there's hand rails on both sides and not alot of corners to manipulate and the path beneath his feet is solid and smooth

    Good luck


  • Hi Abirke

    Thanks for your message, sounds like you got a good system put in place, where did you get this ramp installed from?

  • Mustafa-

    A group of kids from a church....can't remember which one but they build them for people every summer!


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