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Choosing a Safe Step Stool for Seniors: Which is Best?

Summary (TL;DR):

Step stools can be useful for seniors and can increase your safety by providing them the right tool for the job. But, you need to decide if you have the balance and strength to use a stool in the first place. If so, choose a stool with a handle for added balance and security.

Here are my Top Picks:

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I once walked into my grandmother’s house to a frightful sight.

She was standing on a dining room chair cleaning her ceiling fan. Obviously, I made her get down immediately.

Keeping a senior or elder safe at home sometimes means getting them the right tools for the job, like in this example. She was still pretty spry at the time so a safe step stool for seniors like her would have been helpful. And much safer.

Here’s how to choose the best -and safe – step stool for seniors and the elderly.

Video Guide: Step Stools for Seniors and the Elderly

Video Created with Invideo Video Creation Tool

Taking all of the above criteria and information into account, here are my suggestions for safer step stools.

Features

  • SAFELY STEP UP: Designed to provide a safe step up, the Vive foot stool features wide angled legs, a sturdy handrail and a generously sized, nonslip rubber platform for added stability. Great for seniors, adults and children, the medical grade foot stool provides an additional 9” of height, perfect for reaching high shelving without stretching, twisting and straining. Safely use on any level surface without slipping or sliding, including tile, hardwood floors in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom
  • NONSLIP TEXTURED PLATFORM: A textured rubber padding lines the top of the foot stool for greater security. The nonslip platform is also generously sized to provide a stable step up for any individual. Featuring angled legs for added stability, each leg is capped with a wide, non-marking rubber tip that grips the floor to prevent tipping and minimize unwanted movement.
  • STABLE HANDRAIL: Providing a stable step up, the Vive foot stool features a sturdy handrail for better balance when stepping on or off of the stool. The 34.5” handrail is angled inward for greater stability.
  • DURABLE AND LIGHTWEIGHT: Durably constructed with corrosion-resistant steel, the stool is lightweight, weighing only seven pounds. Designed for bariatric use, the stool safely supports up to 300 pounds.
  • VIVE GUARANTEE: 60 day guarantee so you can purchase now with confidence.

In my opinion, this is the best step stool with a handle, especially for seniors. It has nearly every safety feature that I suggest. This model is designed for the bath but is handy anywhere in the house.

Here’s a quick run-down of the safety features. For anti-slip protection, it has on slip tips on the bottom and a textured non-slip surface on the stool itself. The step is only 9″ off of the ground which should be manageable for most elderly people. But, it also isn’t so high they risk a major fall if they have a misstep. There is also a handle to help them get on and off of the stool and give them added balance while they are using it.

I really like the finish of this stool. Many step stools like this are bright shiny chrome. And they look like a piece of medical equipment. With a darker, hammered steel finish, this one does not. It will blend in better with the room decor and not stick out as bad. Plus, because it is stainless steel, it is durable and easy to clean and care for.

There have been a few complaints that the handle wobbles a little. This is because the handle is removable using 2 steel push pins at the bottom. But overall it is a very secure and stable safety stool, and a great portable step for elderly people.

What I Like:
  • I love the dark hammered finish of this step stool. It doesn’t look like medical equipment at all, and looks great in anyone’s home
  • .I also like the 9 inch step height, along with the handle for added balance for the user. This is especially important for seniors who are a little unstable on their feet.
  • The durable stainless steel construction is also great for adding stability and peace of mind for anyone who uses this.
  • The anti-slip surface and no-slip rubber feet on the bottom of the unit also help with the stability factor.
What I Don’t Like:
  • However, as much as I like the handle feature, it does have a bit of a wobble to it, which is a little worrying.

Features

  • Reduce the height of the step into a doorway or room with this non-slip mobility half-step walking aid.
  • Measures approximately 19.75 inches long x 15.75 inches wide x 3.5 inches high.
  • Place the mobility step stool next to your bed, bathtub, car or doorway for easy entry! Made of sturdy polypropylene plastic, this step assistant holds up to 400 lbs.
  • Non-slip tread allows for indoor and outdoor use. Features 12 drain holes for outdoor use. Built with 8 non-slip feet on bottom for extra strength and grip. Step stool is lightweight and portable.
  • Trusted vendor from Vermont. For years Evelots has provided unique products with a 30 day easy return policy, and 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Sometimes, seniors just need a little boost getting up a step, into a tub, or into a bed. A small, half-step sized step stool like this one is probably best for these types of uses. It’s very lightweight, so it can be placed pretty much anywhere you need it, but it can hold up to 400 pounds.

The stool is also only 3.5 inches off of the ground, but this is just enough to reduce the amount of strength needed to complete a full step. A step stool like this one works well with a walking cane for added balance.

What I Like:
  • I really like that this half step booster has a non-slip surface with tread to provide a lot of grip for whoever steps on it.
  • I also love the 6 support feet underneath to provide added stability, whereas most models only have 4 and that can bend in on itself.
  • It’s also only 10.1 ounces and very easy to clean with a simple plastic surface, so this is a great simple option.
What I Don’t Like:
  • The only thing I don’t quite like about this half step is that there isn’t a handle, so just make sure the user has adequate balance before having them to use it.

Features

  • HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE- The only height adjustable step stool with handle available. Customize both step and handle height in seconds. ***IMPORTANT*** REVIEW PRODUCT DIMENSIONS CAREFULLY BEFORE ORDERING- CLICK ON THE THUMBNAIL IMAGES IN THE TOP LEFT CORNER OF THE LISTING TO FIND THE LINE DRAWING WITH DETAILED DIMENSIONS. ENSURE THAT PLATFORM SIZE, STEP HEIGHTS, HANDRAIL HEIGHTS AND OVERALL DIMENSIONS WILL WORK IN YOUR LOCATION.
  • THE SAFER STEP STOOL- The ONLY STEPSTOOL with 2 Handrails. Drastically increases physical and psychological safety. Customize the step height and handle height based on the users physical capability and range of motion. Includes non-slip handgrips, platform pad and foot pads
  • THE MORE VERSATILE STEP STOOL- Customize the step height and handle height based on the task at hand. AdjustaStep is NOT MADE IN MAINLAND CHINA and has no offensive off-gassing odors commonly found in made-in-mainland china step stools.
  • MODERN, CLEAN DESIGN- Modern white/blue design. No need to settle for old-style, industrial-looking chrome or silver vein finishes. White powder-coated finishih is rust resistant and easy to clean and disinfect.
  • ALL-METAL CONSTRUCTION- No plastic parts here! Robust all-metal construction for superior safety, reliability and durability.

This is by far the safest step stool for most seniors. It has all of the basic safety features I recommend plus a few more I didn’t know existed now. It is even extremely useful helping seniors get in and out of bed.

Adjustable Height Step

The step itself adjusts from 8.5″ to 10.5″ using those little steel retracting push buttons. This is a big help for seniors. That way, the step can be adjusted based on the abilities of the elderly person using it. The adjustment is also handy if their function declines so that they can continue using the step stool as long as possible.

Double Handles

Having 2 handles instead of 1 is also a huge help for seniors. First, it gives the senior 2 places to hold onto to really maximize their balance and stability. Second, the handles give them a choice of which side to use without having to turn the stool around. Also, the handles are adjustable in height from 31.5 ” to 33.5″ to fit a wider range of heights better and suit the senior at their ideal height.

It’s also available on Amazon in a model with only one handle if that would work better for you.

What I Like:
  • Some top features I really enjoy about this model include the adjustable height step and adjustable double handles, along with the steel with white powder coated finish.
  • The anti-slip surface on the step is also a really nice touch, along with the non-slip rubber feet.
  • It also only weighs about 7 pounds, but it has a 300 pound weight capacity, so that’s a really nice balance between portability and functionality.
What I Don’t Like:
  • However, I don’t like the price, since it’s one of the higher priced models on the market. While it’s worth it for the extra safety features, it’s still a lot to shell out.
  • I’m also not thrilled that it does not fold, but it disassembles with steel push pins instead. That’s a slightly harder maneuver for the elderly.

A Few More Step Stools To Consider

Features

  • Kings Brand Large White Finish Wood Bedroom Step Stool With Storage.
  • This functional item can be used as a ladder or a step stool and provides a little extra storage space.
  • This piece offers a durable wood construction, and a rich finish.
  • Size of top panel: 18"W x 9.25"D, Storage size 15.75"W x 7.25"D x 13.125"H
  • Simple assembly required. Dimensions: 18"W x 18"D x 16"H

There are other step stool options for seniors that aren’t so institutional looking. For example, these bedside steps can be very helpful with getting in and out of bed. They also look more like furniture and aren’t as noticeable as some of the other options. It has a beautiful cherry wood finish, making it a classy addition to any sophisticated senior’s bedroom.

However, an option like this doesn’t quite have the same level of safety. There are no handles to hold onto and the wood surface could be slick. It does have a handy extra storage space feature though, allowing you to store your favorite books or bedtime products inside without displaying them on your nightstand.

For seniors and elderly people who primarily need help getting in and out of the tub, it may be worth considering a single bath step. These offer an easier, non-slip way to step in and out of the tub by providing a 4 inch step to boost you up to get enough height to safely land inside the tub. It’s also made of a comfortable foam platform so it won’t cause any discomfort on the feet and ankles.

However, there is no handle to hold onto. If an option like this is used, I would suggest using it only with properly installed grab bars to minimize the chance of a fall. Of course, it’s also important to remember that the safest types of showers for seniors are walk-in showers, as the tub can create a huge chance for falling. But, if a new shower isn’t an option, this little step stool can greatly increase a senior’s safety in the bathroom.

Features

  • HIGH COST-EFFECTIVENESS & FOLDING FUNCTION:The two-in-one design, make this step stool costs less money and have higher cost-effectiveness than a step ladder and other conventional step stool. Much more than this, it's folding function can save your household space.
  • EASY TO USE : Made of high quality plastic,be stable enough and durable enough . this kind of step stool has two side pedal, perfect for you to stand on the stool step by step,super safe and sturdy construction.Designed fold easily and quickly, Just pull up the handle and push in the sides, the Acko folding stool is great for use indoors and outdoors, kitchen bathroom or the garden.
  • PROPER USE - The maximum load capacity of the folding step is 350 pounds, which is mainly used for children and adults indoor sitting. when we need to stand on it and reach up a high place, folding stools can carry a safe weight of 150 pounds. Standing on the stool must keep both feet on the middle of the stool, so that the stool can be balanced by force. The step stool must be used in dry and flat surface. Mustn't place the product in the environment above 30℃ and below﹣5℃ more than 5 hours.
  • SQUASH and ROUND CORNER PROTECTION FEATURE - Acko have designed a safety stop gap feature that allows the foldable stool to prevent being squashed, great for kids. Four round corner super safe protect your body from clashing. All of this design is put your kids safe first!
  • ANTI SLIP: Special texture on the surface and anti slip surface on the feets help stabilise and prevent slipping, especially around the kitchen bar, bathroom areas.

I like this one because of its lightweight and foldable design, however, it’s not suitable for indoor use. It’s perfect for getting in and out of a large SUV or truck, since it’s so portable and easy to use. Just pick up the handle in the middle and it folds up flat. It also has some textured, anti-slip properties, but not enough to warrant indoor use. It’s a little too unstable for me to recommend it that far, but it’s still useful for getting into and out of the car.

Features

  • Attractive, easy to maintain silver vein finish
  • Non-skid ribbed rubber platform
  • Constructed of durable 1" steel tubing with cross brace for extra strength
  • Comes fully assembled
  • Step Dimensions: 10"(D) x 14"(W) x 9"(H); Handle Height: 34"; Weight Capacity: 500 lbs

Finally, here is a great solution for larger seniors who need a stool that supports a little more weight.

This bariatric step stool for seniors is made of durable tubular steel ad has a weight capacity of 500 lbs.

It also has the handle and non-slip surface that I recommend too!

Step Stool Safety Features to Consider

Not just any step stool is good enough for use with seniors. A stepping stool for elderly people should have special safety features. There are several key features to look for while keeping safety in mind:

  • Choose a step with a large surface area. You do not want a step that the senior’s foot hangs over the edge. This could cause them lose their balance. Buy a stool that is as at least as wide as their feet.
  • Find a step with a non-slip surface. The best step stools for seniors and the elderly have a textured rubber mat to reduce the chance of slipping while on the stool.
  • Buy a lightweight step stool. It is important that the senior can carry the stool from room to room of the home as needed.
  • Use a stool with a handle. Handles add to the stability of the person by giving them a place to hold onto while reaching with the other hand.
  • Get a stool with rubber tips. Rubber tips keep it from sliding and moving and also protects the floor surface.

Other Features to Consider

There are other features to consider when shopping for a step stool for seniors and elderly:

  • Weight capacity. For larger seniors, make sure the stool will support their weight. Some plastic stools only support 200 lbs or so.
  • Number of steps. Most step stools have a single step. But, there are some models with 2, 3, or even 4 steps. For most elderly users, the closer to the ground the better.
  • Waterproof. Especially for step stools used in the bath, make sure it is waterproof and rust-proof.
  • Cleanability. Most step stools can be wiped down to stay clean.

Should Seniors Even Use A Step Stool?

Maybe. Maybe not. It depends on the senior. As you will see by my recommendations below, there are some step stools that can be used safely with some seniors.

If the senior has good balance and is physically pretty healthy, a step stool is probably fine. The purpose of providing step stools for the elderly is to reduce the chance of a fall. Many people in that generation are resourceful. So, they may use a chair or some other unsafe device instead, which can actually be more dangerous.

Seniors with balance problems or significant weakness should never use a step stool. If they lost their balance while using it, they could fall and cause a seriously damaging injury. These elderly people should never use a stool, climb, or even reach very high over their head for that matter. Move items they regularly use to lower shelves. Teach them to ask for help with items like this. Yes, I know, that is much harder than it sounds!

step stool next to the kitchen counters

Places That Stools are Helpful

There are tons of places inside and outside the home where a step stool is useful. When used properly, they help restore independence and increase overall safety.

Getting Items Out of Kitchen Cabinets

Helpful for reaching items in higher shelves of cabinets or on the back edge of the counter top. A kitchen stool for elderly people is useful when getting items out of an above the stove top microwave oven.

Stepping into the Tub in the Bathroom

Great for help stepping over a high tub edge, reaching something in the vanity mirror, or getting a bath towel out of a cabinet.

Getting In and Out of Bed in the Bedroom

Good tools for getting in and out of a high bed, reaching items on a closet shelf, turning ceiling fans on/off.

Making Smaller Steps on Porches and Decks

Use a step stool for high porches with no steps or with a single step that may be too high.

Getting In and Out of Tall Vehicles

A car step stool for elderly people is great for getting in and out of an SUV or truck or even medical transport vehicles.


Conclusion and Final Recommendation

It is definitely important to find a safe step stool for seniors who need a little help around the house. Step stools can help with reaching items and with getting in and out of bed, bathtubs, and even vehicles. But, not every elderly person can safely use one. They should have good balance and not feeble or unable to judge their own safety.

A safe step stool will have a few basic features: non-slip, a handle, and lightweight. Also, for seniors, I recommend avoiding any step stool with more than one step.

My top recommendation is the Adjustastep DoubleSafe Deluxe Step Stool. This stool is adjustable in height and has double handles – one on each side of the step. It also has all of the basic safety features I recommend.

What do you think about seniors using step stools around the home? Do you have any experiences you would like to share? Please comment below and share this post with friends and family, along with your insights, on your social media networks!

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About Scott Grant, ATP, CRTS®

Assistive Technology Professional, Custom Wheelchair Specialist, Medical Equipment Guru, Dad and Grandfather | I am a lucky dad to four awesome daughters and grandfather to three pretty terrific grandkids. When not working as a custom wheelchair specialist at a regional home medical equipment company, I enjoy early morning runs and occasional kayak trips. I am also a self-admitted nerd who loves anything from the 1980's.

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